Irish mother secures Egyptian court date in bid to bring home sons who were abducted

Irish Mother Secures Egyptian Court Date In Bid To Bring Home Sons Who Were Abducted
Three-year-old Kareem and his five-year-old brother Zayn Mohammed were both born in Ireland and have had no contact with their mother since June 2022
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James Cox

An Irish mother whose children were abducted by their father in Egypt two years ago has received a court date in Cairo in her ongoing bid to bring them home.

Mandy Kelly from Dundalk in Co Louth was on holiday in Egypt two years ago when her husband Ramy Gamal Maamoun Mohamed locked her in an apartment and took the children away in a car.


Three-year-old Kareem and his five-year-old brother Zayn Mohammed were both born in Ireland and have had no contact with their mother since June 2022, three months after they were kidnapped.

Ms Kelly has now received a court date in Egypt for September. She pointed to the slow judicial process in the country, adding that she was called to a hearing on April 10th but only received notice on April 8th.

Ms Kelly told that her ex-husband has made a "cash ransom" demand for her two young sons.

She also expressed frustration about her dealings with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).


Mandy Kelly with her three-year-old son Kareem.


"They are trying to downplay the whole thing like it's just a divorce and my children aren't stranded in a foreign country with a cash ransom.

"There has been a catalogue of failures in this. I have been incredibly disappointed with the DFA, they are still refusing to cancel the passports for my two sons regardless of the fact there is a domestic and international arrest warrant for my ex-partner. Even though he cannot travel anywhere in Europe, he can still go anywhere in the Middle East with my children, so this is something that I am incredibly concerned about.


"I brought this to the attention of Minister for Justice Helen McEntee when I met her on April 11th. I know that Minister Micheál Martin does have the power to cancel my children's passports. I know that, and it's something I will be raising with the Children's Ombudsman.

"To date there has been nothing put up on the Interpol missing children's page for my children, so even if they went anywhere in the Middle East, Australia, there are no mechanisms in place to show that my children are unlawfully retained by their parent in another country.

"The authorities know that there is a cash ransom involved in the case. My ex admitted his cash demands in writing to the Irish courts. He had even gone to the bother of getting the document notarised in Egypt."

Ms Kelly said she has received notification that Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin raised the case with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in November.


However, she said she is "incredibly disappointed with the time lapsed".

Ms Kelly said she received an email from the Egyptian ministry of justice last week, in which a judge signed off on an offer of a Zoom call with her two children.

Mandy Kelly leaving the Department of Justice , Dublin after meeting with Minister for Justice Helen McEntee. Photo: Sam Boal/Collins Photos

She said this would only upset the boys.


"Two kids who I haven't spoken to in two years. It shows how biased their legal system is. If I agree to the Zoom call, I'm giving my ex  authority to make decisions for my children.

"Any fool would know that a Zoom call for a three-year-old and five-year-old child, it would not only be upsetting, it would be incredibly detrimental to their mental health.

"As I told Minister Martin, the Egyptian authorities are not going to act in the best interests of my children."

Along with the international arrest warrant issued for her ex-husband, Ms Kelly has secured an order from the High Court for the "immediate return" of her children.

"Even the judge knew that the best interests of my children would be served in Ireland," she added.

Ms Kelly said she was unhappy with a DFA suggestion that she travel to Egypt to visit her children, pointing out that she feels unsafe in the country after the incident in which Mr Mohamed locked her in an apartment and kidnapped her two sons.

Ms Kelly's case is complicated by the fact Egypt is not a signatory of the Hague Convention on child abductions, and she feels this shows "a bilateral agreement on child custody is needed".

Her case has been discussed in the Seanad, the Dáil and brought to Oireachtas committees.

Ms Kelly pointed to other cases where the Irish Government have intervened, such as that of Ibrahim Halawa who was arrested in Egypt in 2013 and eventually released in 2017.

More recently, she referenced the case of Yasser Eljuboori  who was being held in jail in Iraq before having all charges dropped and being returned to his family,

Ms Kelly recently met with Dr Umar al-Qadri, chief imam of the Islamic Centre of Ireland, who is running in the upcoming European elections.

She said Dr al-Qadri has followed her case all the way through, and been a great help.

Ms Kelly again expressed her frustration at the slow pace of the Egyptian and Irish authorities.

"Six months after this, the Egyptian ambassador and Simon Coveney [then minister for foreign affairs] sat and talked about the repatriation of an Egyptian mummy that was in University College Cork, and there was the utmost cooperation and an international agreement drawn up on the return of Egyptian artefacts.

"Are children less important than artefacts?"

Ms Kelly's case has been discussed in the Seanad, the Dáil and brought to Oireachtas committees. Photo: Collins

Living every parent's worst nightmare, Ms Kelly said her life has been hell for the past two years.

"I've been working on this continuously, I don't even have a life. I can't even explain it sometimes, it's waking up every morning to a nightmare.

"My two children are two and a half years without their mother. My son should be going into first class, I'm sure he's never done a day of school in Egypt. My other son should be starting his second year in play school. I'm going through my third year of not having my children for the start of school in September. It's absolutely horrific."

After she travels to Cairo in September, Ms Kelly insists she will not return to Ireland without her children.

"My children are hostages. My ex-partner allowing me a Zoom call highlights that. That's what people holding hostages do, not parents.

"I won't be leaving Cairo until my boys are with me. I've let the Irish and Egyptian authorities know that my children will be leaving Cairo with me."

In response to a request for comment on Ms Kelly's case, the Department of Foreign Affairs issued the following statement to "The Department of Foreign Affairs is aware of the case and has provided extensive consular assistance and continues to. As with all consular cases, the Department does not comment on the detail of individual cases."

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