Sunday 24 September 2017

Faris family feel some 'positivity' after meeting

Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

THE family of Faris Daniel Heeney, a young Irish national who was kidnapped by his father, said they held "a little bit of positivity" after their first meeting with a Government minister yesterday.

The boy's grandmother, Marian Heeney, said that the family had met with Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald, as well as other officials, and were offered fresh hope in the meeting by a letter from Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

"The only good thing that came out of it was that there was a letter there from Alan Shatter. While it didn't just address us directly, it involved other children and families," she said.

"He has put in some deposition with the Minister for Justice in Egypt" regarding looking at a bilateral agreement. "It's a little bit of positivity."

Mrs Heeney said that she also called upon Ms Fitzgerald to implement a 'Faris Daniel law', which would enforce stricter travel regulations for young children. However, Mrs Heeney remains doubtful of any progress on the case, and that the family are just "trying to keep ourselves sane" in the lead-up to Christmas.

Faris was just two when he was taken to Egypt by his uncle Mostafa Ismaeil in July 2009. The uncle was later ordered to return to Ireland, and is currently serving a six-year sentence in Portlaoise prison after being convicted of child abduction. He is due to be released in April.

Faris currently resides with his father Amir – an Egyptian national – north of Cairo. Amir and another brother fled Ireland while on bail after being charged with sexual assault.

The family last week met with Egyptian diplomats at their embassy in Dublin, and said they left "disappointed", after being encouraged to take a case of legal action against Amir in Egypt – a costly process which could take several years.

The authorities face difficulties in helping to bring Faris home as Egypt is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on child abduction, and there is no extradition agreement between Egypt and Ireland.

Irish Independent

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