Dear Congresswoman Pelosi,
I am writing on behalf of Édeanna M. Chebbi, the left-behind parent of two U.S. citizens, Eslam (5) and Zainab (3) Chebbi, who were abducted to the Republic of Tunisia in November 2011. I understand that you recently led a congressional delegation to Tunisia where you met with top governmental officials to discuss the country’s progress toward democratization.
Édeanna has been fighting a legal and diplomatic battle for the return of Eslam and Zainab for six months. We are thankful for support given by Senator Barbara Mikulski and Ambassador Susan Jacobs during visits to Tunisia in 2012. While the efforts of these esteemed representatives have been both heartwarming and impactful, more advocacy is needed to ensure the return of these children, and the children of more than 4 other parents who have also been abducted to Tunisia since November 2011.
I am sure you are aware of the substantial monetary contribution that the U.S. is prepared to make to Tunisia in the coming months via proposed senate bill, S. 618: Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund Act. Additionally, you may be aware that Secretary Hillary Clinton is reported to be seeking $1 million in U.S. aid through the IMF on behalf of the Republic of Tunisia. Finally, it is my hope that you are familiar with the proposed legislation, HR 1940.
HR 1940 is an important piece of legislation to left-behind parents, and amongst its many provisions is the right of the President to withhold distribution of monetary contributions to any country “engaged in a pattern of noncooperation regarding unresolved cases of international child abduction or denial of rights of access.”
Congresswoman Pelosi, I am seeking your advocacy to the Tunisian Ambassador, Mohammad Tekaya; the Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister Rafik Abdessalem; Prime Minister Jebali; and President Marzouki, for the immediate return of Eslam and Zainab Chebbi. I ask that you emphasize a desire to ensure that the financial contributions provided for in S. 618 not be compromised by the lack of action taken by the Tunisian government to return U.S. citizens who are illegally abducted to their country. Additionally, I hope that you will support HR 1940 when it comes before you in Congress.
I appreciate your attention to this critical matter.