American Mom Protests Tunisian Embassy Involvement in Her Children’s Kidnapping

American Mom Protests Tunisian Embassy Involvement in Her Children’s Kidnapping
For Immediate Release –  Washington, DC — Return US Home
On Monday, December 5, 2011 at 12 noon, protesters will rally at the Embassy of Tunisia in Washington, DC to support a local American mother, Édeanna Johnson Chebbi. The event was organized by Return US Home to call attention to the kidnap of Mrs. Chebbi’s children and the culpability of the embassy in the situation.
On November 11, 2011, Mrs. Chebbi’s abusive ex-husband, Faical Chebbi, abducted their two small children, Eslam (5) and Zainab (2.5), to his country of origin, Tunisia.  A few months prior to the abduction, Mrs. Chebbi met with a Tunisian embassy official who assured her that her then-estranged husband would not be able to obtain passports for their children without her permission, as it would violate U.S. law.  A file was created at the embassy in Mr. Chebbi’s name containing copies of former protective orders, and a legal separation agreement granting her full legal and physical custody of their two children.
Despite the embassy’s assurances, Mr. Chebbi was provided with passports for both children.  The mother claims that the embassy’s actions disregarded U.S. custody laws and allowed her ex-husband to kidnap the minors.
Mr. Chebbi now resides with Eslam and Zainab in Tunis, Tunisia at the home of Abdallah and Mbarka Chebbi.  He claims he intends to raise the children in his parents’ home in Tunis and will not return the children to the United States.
Because Tunisia is not a signatory to the Hague, or any such international agreements, they are not required to comply with U.S. laws.  Additionally, the laws in Tunisia dictate that regardless of custody rights, children are not allowed to leave the country without their father’s consent.
Mrs. Chebbi has been in communication with the Tunisian Ambassador, Mr. Salah Tekaya, and with the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, most recently headed by Mr. Mohammed Mouldi Kefi.  She has made it clear to the Ambassador that she holds the embassy responsible for aiding and supporting the kidnapping of her children.
In a recent email correspondence, Mrs. Chebbi wrote: “There are many more who fear the same plight in their own domestic circumstances where abusive spouses threaten to use your embassy’s loose and unconcerned policies to allow them to break U.S. laws and illegally abduct children to Tunisia.  I believe you have a duty to respect and uphold the laws of the country in which your embassy resides.”
 In a meeting with the First Secretary, Yessine Salah, last week, Mrs. Chebbi was informed that embassy staff could not consider investigating every request for passports they receive, because it would simply take too much time.
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Contact: Édeanna Johnson Chebbi
Cell: 202-505-1532
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