Judge jails man for abducting son to Egypt

A man who abducted his young son and flew him to Egypt during an access visit has been jailed for one year.

The Egyptian man, who was living in Dublin at the time, pleaded guilty to abduction of a child on April 14, 2012, in defiance of a District Court order.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the parents of the three-year-old boy were estranged from each other and had gone to the family law courts for mediation.

Garda David Redmond told Paul Carroll BL, prosecuting, that the mother was devastated when she was told there was no hope of her getting her son back from Egypt.

In a victim impact report she described feeling hopeless because she could not comfort her son during the eight months he was away from her. The child has had trouble re-adjusting, including difficulties with language, since being reunited with his mother.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring imposed a sentence of two years to date from last December, when the man went into custody. She suspended the last twelve months of that sentence.

Garda Redmond said that the man contacted the boy's mother the day after the abduction with a text saying: "We're in Egypt now".

When she felt she was getting nowhere with the authorities here in her efforts to get her son back, the woman left Ireland and returned to her native country in Europe. From there she convinced the boy's father to meet her on the promise of a reconciliation.

When they met at the airport in her country she took her son. Social services and police intervened and the family courts there eventually granted full custody to the mother and supervised access to the father.

Last December the father was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant and extradited to Ireland.

Colman Fitzgerald SC, defending, said his client never intended to stay in Egypt and always planned to return to Europe. Counsel said the man wanted to introduce his son to his Egyptian family.

Judge Ring gave credit to the accused for informing the mother soon after the abduction about her son's whereabouts and for maintaining contact via Skype with the mother.

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