Sara and Ammar's father sought contact

21st September 2007, Comments 0 comments

21 September 2007, DAMASCUS - Hisham Hafez, the father of Groningen children Sara and Ammar, has repeatedly tried to make contact with his children over the past months.

21 September 2007

DAMASCUS - Hisham Hafez, the father of Groningen children Sara and Ammar, has repeatedly tried to make contact with his children over the past months.

He said this on Thursday in reaction to statements that mother Janneke Schoonhoven made in court earlier in the day. Schoonhoven is asking the court to divest the father entirely of any parental authority.

The children's mother claims that Hafez has not sought contact with the children since their flight to the Netherlands. Hafez contests this. He says Schoonhoven refuses to answer the phone when he calls. "I think Janneke deliberately doesn't pick up the phone when she sees the call is from Syria."

The father also says he has sent countless sms text messages to his children over the past few months, but that these have gone unanswered. Emails sent to his son Ammar are returned as undeliverable. "I think that his mother has changed his email address."

Hafez was not present at the hearing in Groningen on Thursday. Schoonhoven says he did not travel to the Netherlands because the public prosecution department would arrest him as soon as he set foot on Dutch soil. The father continues to be a kidnapping suspect.

Hafez did write a letter to the court appealing to a custody agreement the parents made in 2005. Schoonhoven says this agreement no longer applies.

The Syrian father abducted his children three years ago and brought them to his home country. In June 2006 Ammar and Sara turned up at the Dutch embassy in Damascus, asking for safe haven and saying they wanted to return to their mother.

After months of negotiations between the Dutch and Syrian governments and mediation by foreign minister at the time Ben Bot they were returned to their mother in Oude Pekela in December.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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