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Norwegian parents detained in Warsaw. Ordo Iuris intervention in defense of the family

Published: 14.08.2023

Adobe Stock

· Two Norwegians have been detained and questioned by police in Warsaw, in connection with a European Arrest Warrant issued by Norwegian authorities.

· The reason for the Norwegian children's agency Barnevernet's interest in the family was allegations of the mother's alleged addiction, which would endanger the daughter for whom she has custody.

· To avoid having her child taken away by the services, the woman emigrated to Poland with her daughter in 2022. The father remained in Norway, but visited his family on several occasions.

· Information about the mother provided by Norwegian services has not been confirmed by the Polish side. However, on August 9, after a European Arrest Warrant was issued, police detained both parents, and the girl was taken to an orphanage.

· The next day the parents were questioned in the presence of a lawyer and released. On August 11, the court allowed the daughter to leave the orphanage and return to her parents.

· Legal assistance to the family was provided by the Ordo Iuris Institute.

The mother, who has full parental authority over her daughter, moved to Poland in September/October 2022. The daughter's father remained in Norway without objecting to his daughter's relocation. The move involved the risk of the Norwegian children's agency (Barnevernet) taking the girl away. The reason the service was watching the family in Norway was that the mother grew up in an orphanage and had a history of drug use episodes. During the child's stay in Poland, the daughter was repeatedly visited by her father and other family members.

The fact of the move led Barnevernet to initiate proceedings to take custody of the girl while she was already in Poland. Norwegian services alerted the Polish police to the fact that the minor was in the care of a person who is a drug addict and a danger to the child. This information led officers to intervene at the mother's residence with the child in October 2022. According to police notes, the information about the mother provided by Norwegian services was not confirmed.

The mother presented documents showing that she does not use drugs, as well as a number of certificates confirming that the child has a stable situation in Poland. The girl is in her mother's care, and is provided with medical care, kindergarten and extra-curricular activities.

The Polish police's verification of the child's situation led to the abandonment of the action and was limited only to providing information about the situation to the Polish family court. The District Court verified the girl's situation. On the basis of the probation officer's interviews and evidence attached by the child's mother, the Warsaw District Court waived the initiation of proceedings to review the mother's family situation over her daughter.

Since then, the situation of the child and mother was stable. The minor continued her education in kindergarten and developed properly under the care of her mother. Despite the child's normal situation, in July 2023, the law enforcement authorities of the Kingdom of Norway issued a European Arrest Warrant after the mother due to the alleged kidnapping of her daughter by the mother. This prompted Polish police to detain the mother and the father visiting the daughter on August 9, 2023 in Warsaw.

The parents were detained and taken into custody to await questioning, while the child was taken to the Janusz Korczak Children's Home No. 2 in Warsaw. Norwegian services were informed of the parents' detention and that the child was in foster care. Although the minor was in the proper care of her mother in Poland, there was a risk that a Norwegian official would take custody of the minor and return with her to Norway without the parents.

On August 10, the parents were questioned with the participation of their defense attorney Maciej Kryczka. After giving explanations, evidence and legal arguments, the District Prosecutor's Office decided to release the parents to freedom.

Despite their stay at liberty, the parents were unable to take their daughter from the Children's Home due to the lack of a Polish court decision in this regard. The child missed her mother in particular. She refused to eat meals, cried and demanded contact with her mother.

On August 11, 2023, at the request of the mother's attorney, the National Prosecutor's Office and the management of the orphanage where the daughter was staying, the District Court issued a decision to release the minor from the orphanage and hand her over to her mother.  Currently, the parents are staying with their daughter at large.

"Thank you to all those involved in helping Norwegian citizens. Once again, the Kingdom of Norway is instrumentally using the criminal law to take custody of a child and isolate him from his family in a manner contrary to his welfare without any rational reason. Special thanks are due to prosecutors Filip Wolski, Malgorzata Slowinski of the National Prosecutor's Office, and the District and Regional Prosecutor's Office, who joined the request for the surrender of the daughter to her mother before the family court. Many thanks to the Children's Ombudsman Nikolai Pawlak for his intervention, and to the management of the Janusz Korczak Children's Home No. 2 in Warsaw for their cooperation while taking care of the child. The efficient cooperation of all entities in the case led to a happy conclusion of this stage of the proceedings and the safeguarding of the interests of the child and the parents." - commented the family's attorney, Maciej Kryczka, who cooperates with the Ordo Iuris Trial Intervention Center.

The proceedings in the family's case have not ended. In connection with the European Arrest Warrant, the Warsaw District Court will decide whether to extradite the family to the Kingdom of Norway for criminal proceedings in connection with allegations of parental child abduction.

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