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Judge backs Tehran girls’ father

Published on 08/12/2003

8 December 2003

BRUSSELS – An Iranian judge is backing the father of two Belgian girls who have taken refuge at the Belgian Embassy in Tehran since last week after running away with the aim of returning to their mother in Liege.

Yasmine and Sara Pourhashemi (aged 15 and six) were taken on holiday to Greece by their Iranian doctor father in August, only to be brought to Tehran against their will despite their mother having received full custody of the children after divorcing their father.

Last Tuesday, the girls left their father’s house and took a taxi to the Belgian embassy, hoping to be given passports and sent home to their mother in Belgium immediately.

In the meantime, a Tehran judge has cleared Shahab Salami of any wrongdoing as Iran recognises neither custody rights accorded in Belgium nor dual nationality.

Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister Louis Michel has ordered the Belgian Embassy in Tehran take care of the girls until the issue is resolved.

Judge Mohammad Erfan has said however that the only solution will be to return the girls to their father and that their mother Zarah should pursue the case through the Iranian courts.

If Zarah travels to Iran however, she would need permission from her husband to leave.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Belgian news