Family

Canadian mother appeals to PM to help return abducted child

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

A mother whose son was abducted to Armenia is appealing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help bring her child home to Canada, Toronto family lawyer Michael Stangarone tells the Toronto Sun.

Stangarone, a partner with MacDonald & Partners LLP, represents the mother as co-counsel with Dana Bloom of Walker Head LLP.

Armenia is not a signatory to the Hague Convention — an international treaty for the return of unlawfully removed children — meaning the Convention cannot be invoked in order to return the child home to Canada, and Stangarone’s client has been “stuck in a quagmire in a foreign land trying to bring her child home.”

“If you lose a child to one of these countries (that isn’t a signatory), it’s hard to have them returned," Stangarone tells the Sun.

In an interview with AdvocateDaily.com, he says while it’s difficult to get children back from countries that are not signatories, “it’s not impossible and it does happen.”

Stangarone has been successful in these types of cases in the past and says the child should be returned to his mother “as it was a clear abduction.”

A hearing date in Armenia was scheduled for Oct. 10 but was adjourned to a further date.

Stangarone says his client has written to her member of parliament asking for assistance. It’s her hope that Trudeau, who is currently in Yerevan for la Francophonie summit, will speak with the Armenian government to have the child returned home.

“I’m pleading with him to help me return my son to his rightful home in Canada,” the mother tells the Sun.

Her ex-husband was born in Iran but is of Armenian heritage, the newspaper reports.

“After meeting at the University of Toronto, they married in June 2012. They separated shortly after their son’s birth in 2015 and have fought over access ever since,” the article states.

“The respondent (father) abducted the parties’ child, born May 1, 2015, on or about April 18, 2018. He took the child to Armenia purportedly on a vacation as ‘he needed a break from things,’” Ontario Superior Court Justice Laura Fryer wrote in her decision.

“His text messages are deliberately evasive,” added the Oshawa judge. “In these text messages, the respondent (father) warns the applicant (mother) ‘not to contact anybody as it might make it dangerous.’”

The judge awarded the mother permanent sole custody to “ensure and facilitate the immediate return of the child.”

That was six months ago. She tells the Sun she’s taken leave from her job as a radiation therapist and has been in Armenia fighting to have their courts recognize her Ontario custody orders ever since.

“It’s very scary. I don’t know the language, which has been a huge, huge problem.”

She says she desperately hopes the prime minister will plead her case to the Armenian government this week.

“It’s just been emotionally draining and exhausting,” the mother tells the Sun. “The only thing that has kept me going is hope, hope that I will get him back and return to Canada.”

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