Letter to The Honorable James Carter

The Honorable James Carter
The Carter Center
One Copenhill
453 Freedom Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30307

March 10, 2012

Dear Mr. Carter:

I am writing to request your personal advocacy with Tunisian authorities on behalf of kidnapped children, Eslam (5) and Zainab (3) Chebbi.  (Department of State case #: OCS 2011 319 2852).

On November 11, 2011, Faical Chebbi, the children’s father – a dual citizen of Tunisia and the United States of America – departed the U.S. with Eslam and Zainab, declaring never to return them home.  At present, their mother, Édeanna M. Chebbi, is in Tunisia fighting for the right to bring her children back to their home in the U.S.

Édeanna was granted sole physical and legal custody of her children by the consent of her ex-husband over a year ago.  She fought for two years in the U.S. to ensure that she and her children would not be re-victimized by the domestic violence that necessitated their divorce.  They are now suffering this re-victimization in Tunisia at the hands of a man who is unquestionably a criminal.

In the summer of 2011 when Faical applied for and obtained Tunisian birth certificates and passports for Eslam and Zainab, he did so as a U.S. citizen bound by U.S. law, for two U.S. citizens whom he had relinquished any right of legal authority over.  Eslam and Zainab have always been U.S. citizens and their receiving Tunisian citizenship was illegal.

In addition to Faical’s personal confession for the criminal act of international child abduction (on file with the U.S. consulate, Tunis, Tunisia), the following details will strengthen an argument for the return of these children:

On July 16, 2010, the Circuit Court of Prince George’s County, Maryland issued a court order preventing either parent from removing Eslam and Zainab from the United States.  On November 17, 2011, the same court issued an order demanding the children be returned to Édeanna Chebbi utilizing all means of reasonable and necessary force.  On November 18, 2011, Virginia State Police issued 2 warrants for Faical Chebbi for the criminal act of child abduction.  On December 19, 2011, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a federal warrant for the arrest of Faical Chebbi for the act of international kidnapping.  Finally, on January 4, 2012, The United States Attorney’s office issued a Prosecutor’s Agreement to Extradite with an Interpol red alert for Faical Chebbi in upholding the federal warrant.

Each of these documents is incorporated in the aforementioned U.S. Department of State case file.  Additionally, the Tunisian Interpol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of the Interior have received copies of the Interpol alerts.

Mr. Carter, please help, and act with urgency, to advocate for the expeditious return of these children.


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