Austrian women awaits child abduction trial

Children|Divorce|News|April 4th 2013

Graz AustriaThe trial of a Danish man for child abduction will resume in Graz, Austria, later today.

Thomas Sörensen is alleged to have taken his five year-old son Oliver out of kindergarten last spring and travelled back to Denmark with him. There he was given legal custody of the boy, despite the fact that his mother, Marion Weilharter, had been already been given custody within Austria.

Sörensen was convicted of child abduction the following September and sentenced to a year in prison, but the verdict was later overturned by the Austrian Court of Appeal due to a legal error.

Weilharter has campaigned vigorously for the return of her son, who remains in Denmark. She has contacted both the European Parliament and the United Nations about ‘the Oliver Case’ as it has been dubbed, and they are  pressing the Danes for a commitment to return the boy to Austria.

Weilharter reports:

“The EU parliament and the UN are dealing with the case and the Danish will have to answer.”

She has spoken to Oliver just three times via Skype and once by telephone since he was taken to Denmark, but has not been allowed to call at all since February.

The situation “cannot be described with words,” Weilharter told Austrian newspaper Der Kurier.

“Every day is the same nightmare. I function when I have to. But Oliver has only me. If I do not stay strong, then who?”

Photo of Graz by Philipp Steiner via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence

 

 

Author: Stowe Family Law

Comments(8)

  1. Nishana says:

    Hi, how is this case dealt in regards to the language and interpretations of the law?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Hi Nishana
      Thanks for all your questions on the blog which are quite legally detailed. I’m sorry but I just don’t have the time to consider them. My blog isn’t intended to be deeply academic.
      Best wishes
      Marilyn

  2. Jesper B. says:

    Hi, I think you are misrepresenting this case totally. This is not just a child abduction case, this is a case of 2 legal systems that do not respect each others verdicts.
    The way this case is presented in the danish news is the exact opposite of the presentation you made here. The father was awarded custody by the danish courts after the divorce, the mother took the boy with her to austria and went to court and won custody (despite european agreements, that should ensure that verdicts from the danish court are respected by austrian courts). The farther then went to austria to take his son back home – rightfully from the perspective of the danish legal system. And here we are now telling different depending of perspective.
    Despite the tragic situation for both parents and their son, the real story is the one about 2 legal systems not respecting the verdicts of each other despite international agreements.
    Br. Jesper B

  3. Hanns Weilharter says:

    Mr. Jesper B. misrepresenting this case totally. This is a clear child abduction case, this is not a case of 2 legal systems that do not respect each others verdicts.
    The father Father has “retrospectively” received sole custody in Denmark on December 22, 2010 by the danish courts, after the legal move by the mother with her boy to austria. The mother has the sole custody since the child’s birth according to Austrian as well as international law.
    On April 3th 2012 Oliver is brutally kidnapped by his Danish father and accomplices in front of his kinder-garden.
    http://cphpost.dk/eu/eu-delegation-submits-critical-report-danish-child-custody-abuses
    https://sites.google.com/site/thedanishtrap/mein-fall/un-cedaw

  4. Hanns Weilharter says:

    Pressrelease of the European Parliament concerning Tuesday´s meeting with the petitioners in Brussels (Feb. 11, 2014):

    Petitions Committee´s Members tackle children´s rights!
    At Tuesday’s meeting of the Committee on Petitions members considered some twenty seven petitions submitted by Danish and non-Danish (ex)partners/spouses of Danish citizens. Some of the petitioners were present at the meeting, others addressed it in video recordings.

    The stories the Members heard from the mothers and father made a large emotional impact. Members were shocked at the descriptions of how the Danish authorities had dealt with or are still dealing with the cases of these petitioners.

    From the petitioners’ statements a pattern arose of Danish authorities not willing to listen to complaints of primary caretakers and not reacting when mothers reported discrimination, violence and child abuse. Claims were made that the Danish police actively cooperates with the authorities and discriminates against foreign citizens. Also there were allegations about petitioners’ phones being tapped by the police and e-mails intercepted.

    Representatives of the European Commission explained that there is little the Commission can do to help the petitioners as Denmark has opted out of a number of important chapters of EU law in the fields of justice and home affairs. This met with a very critical reaction from the members of the Committee.

    According to Victor Boştinaru, Romanian MEP, it was clear from the statements given that the fundamental rights of the petitioners as well as their children were being violated in Denmark and that foreign citizens did not get equal treatment from the Danish authorities.

    Peter Jahr, German MEP, who also was a member of the fact-finding visit a delegation of the PETI Committee had made to Denmark in June 2013, stated that an opt-out cannot result in discrimination of citizens. He supported the Commission’s initiative of drawing up guidelines for handling international custody and child welfare cases, and urged the Commission to investigate whether the rights of children were being violated in Denmark.

    Margrete Auken, Danish MEP, agreed that the Danish opt-out should be removed but remained nevertheless sceptical on the Committee’s and the Commission’s ability to help the petitioners, because as she said “we only hear one side of the story”.

    Austrian MEP Angelika Werthmann, leader of the fact-finding visit to Denmark in June 2013, stated that the opt-out can never mean that the European Charter of Fundamental rights can be ignored and called on the European Commission to seriously support the petitioners and their children in their basic rights. She also thought of the political implications that Denmark’s ignorance of the Charter of Fundamental Rights actually has and will have one day on these young European citizens. “Denmark has to respect European values; human rights, women’s rights and children’s rights are part of them. Denmark is an EU member state and must act as such”, concluded Angelika Werthmann with a view to the in many cases double discrimination presented today, “which is only the tip of the iceberg”.

    The Chairwoman of Committee on Petitions Erminia Mazzoni expressed the concerns of the majority of the petitions committee. As decided at the end of the discussion, she would write a letter to the Danish government and invite it to react to the deliberations by the PETI Committee. Also a letter would be sent to Mrs Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice, urging her to approach the Danish government to discuss changes in the way Denmark handles custody and child welfare cases.

    Please share!
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/peti/home.html

  5. Andreas Schmidt says:

    The boy is a Danish citizen. The mother should from the beginning had said yes to shared custody with Thomas. Instead her herself kidnapping Oliver. The end.

  6. Rasmus P says:

    Hanns Weilharter, I understand this must be a hard time for you and your family. Nevertheless it should be no secret that I’m Dane, so of course my perspective will be influenced by what I’ve heard from Danish media, but I’ll try to be objective, and have actually checked a lot about this (not only on Danish media). However, I note me what Auken (Danish MEP) said “We only hear one side of the story” and I think that’s spot on. I think you’re denying that this story has two sides, and that is only making the situation worse. As I hear you, you have implied that Marion had the right to take Oliver to Austria, and now correct me if I’m wrong, thereby you also imply that Marion had full custody in Denmark? As I see this it has hard hard to get a final result of this, because the Danish opt-out, so EU haven’t been able to rule on this case. However, I’m certain that they would rule in favor of Thomas and let Oliver stay in Denmark where he rightfully belong as Danish citizen. Now I also hear that the Austrian authorities and the Danish authorities have agreed that Oliver should be in Denmark. Which means that Marion didn’t have the right to take Oliver to Austria, as you claim. Just thought I would give people both sides of the story.

  7. Marion Olivia Weilharter says:

    Fact is, that Denmark is since 2010 violating both my son Oliver Benjamin Weilharter´s as well as my rights. Above statements made by Danish citizen´s are demonstrably incorrect. This is also confirmed by the latest UN decision and according to also this decision Denmark has to restore the State of Law and immediately return Oliver to his legal habitual residence in Graz, Austria.
    For more information – the UN-Cedaw decision as well as other documentation – please got to: sites.google.com/site/thedanishtrap/un-cedaw

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