Saturday 20 December 2014

Family of abducted child: “We can’t do another Christmas without Faris”

“I can’t watch Norma being devastated again,” Amy Heeney said of child’s mother Norma Heeney

Published 21/10/2013 | 15:26

Norma Heeney, the mother of six-year-old Irish national Faris, who was abducted and taken to Egypt four years ago, sits in her son's bedroom at home in Clonsilla, Dublin
Six-year-old Irish national Faris

The sister of a woman whose son was abducted by his rape suspect father has said she doesn’t think the family “can do another Christmas” without six-year-old Faris.

“I can’t watch Norma being devastated and in bed for days again,” Amy Heeney said of Faris’s mother Norma Heeney in an emotional interview with Joe Duffy.

“There’s eight grandchildren in the house and they’re all playing and it’s just a slap in the face that Faris is not here. He’s not at home with his mammy and it’s destroying every one of us.”

Amy Heeney spoke out about her sister’s fears for her son’s safety after he was smuggled out of the country in July 2009 by his uncle Moustafa after Faris’s other uncle Tamer and father Amir were charged with the rape of an Irish woman.

Faris is now being raised by his father Amir Ismaeil.

The child’s uncle, Moustafa, has been jailed for six years for his abduction but Faris continues to live in Egypt.

“We had to stay quiet before because of the trial, but now we just want our baby home,” said Amy.

“The only reason our family still gives money to Amir is so we can go see Faris. I would go sit with the devil, I would go sleep with the devil just so I am able to go see him,” Amy said.

“And if the only communication we have and the only way we can go see him is to throw a couple of hundred euro over, you would do it yourself for your baby.”

Norma’s mother Marie visited the child last in February. Norma visited her son Faris up to five times before last summer when she was seriously assaulted on her trip.

“It’s absolutely traumatic,” Marie said of her trips to Egypt.

“We just have to say goodbye and we often have our arms around the gate when we’re leaving and we just sob the whole way home to Dublin.

“Everytime we just think maybe this time we can bring him home, our little dolly.

“I brought Norma home some of his copybooks just to show her what he’s learning in school. I don’t know, you just feel like giving up, just lying down and dying.

“Bear in mind we’re the first family in the Irish state to have this done to us.

“I was sure when he was found guilty and was convicted we’d have Faris home. But we have nothing.”

Marie and Amy both criticised the Government, saying they have failed to do anything since Faris was first abducted in 2009.

They have made repeated approaches to the Justice and Foreign Affairs department here and the Egyptian authorities but have been repeatedly told there is nothing that they can do.

“We’re trying to be strong for Norma,” Amy said.

“We’re telling Norma things are going to get better, that people care. She thinks nobody cares, nobody has knocked on our door and offered us help or support.

“You know this could happen to anybody in the morning and you cannot expect the government to help you.

“We’re a normal family, we never thought this would happen us.

“The biggest regret of Norma’s life is that she fell in love and her life has been turned upside-down since,”she continued.

“Her baby, her pride and her joy has been taken and nobody has acknowledged the pain and suffering and everything we’ve gone through.

“We are completely on our own and we’re staying strong for Norma.”

By Denise Calnan

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