Russian mother's kidnapping charges upheld in Finnish court
An appeals court in the Finnish city of Turku upheld a kidnapping conviction against Russian-born Rimma Salonen, who took her son Anton back to Russia without the knowledge of the boy's Finnish father.
"The court finds that Rimma Salonen went to Russia not for a holiday of one or two weeks... but that she planned on the possibility that their stay in Russia would be long-term," the court said in official documents obtained by AFP.
While upholding the one-and-half year suspended prison sentence and ordering her to pay the trial costs of the boy and his father, Paavo Salonen, the court reduced the sum of the damages the mother was ordered to pay to her son.
The international custody drama began in the spring of 2008, when the Anton's mother took the four-year-old to Russia without his father's permission.
Paavo Salonen testified that he filed a criminal complaint with the police, but later discovered on his own where his ex-wife had taken Anton.
The two had been living in Russia for over a year when the father met them in the spring of 2009 and took his son back to Finland.
He was aided by a Finnish diplomat, who spirited the two across the border in the boot of a vehicle with diplomatic plates, sparking a row between Helsinki and Moscow.
Rimma Salonen was detained by the police at the end of July 2009 when she returned to Finland and was given an 18-month suspended sentence for child abduction in October.
The acrimonious court battle has been splashed across headlines in both countries, with some Russian officials demanding that Anton and his mother be returned to Russia, and that Paavo Salonen be extraditied to face kidnapping charges -- something the Finnish government has refused to do.
© 2010 AFP