Father won’t be extradited for ‘kidnapping’ son

A five-year-old is caught in a custody battle between Danish and Austrian parents who have both been granted sole custody in their home countries

June 13th, 2012 10:03 am| by admin

A Danish man who Austrian authorities say kidnapped his son from the boy's Austrian mother will not be extradited.

Thomas Sørensen, 40, took his five-year-old son, Oliver, from his kindergarten in the Austrian city of Graz in April and drove back to Denmark where they went into hiding.

The Austrian authorities say the act amounts to kidnapping and issued an international arrest warrant for Sørensen, who was interviewed upon his return to Denmark by the North Zealand Police but was not kept in custody.

On Monday, the Justice Ministry announced that it would not honour the warrant.

“The reason is that the act that the Danish citizen is alleged to have performed in Austria also partially occurred in Denmark – an act that is not illegal according to Danish law,” the Justice Ministry said in a press release.

Sørensen was together with Oliver’s mother from 2000 until 2007, the year that Oliver was born. In July 2010, Oliver’s mother took him back to Austria, even though Sørensen had been granted sole custody by the Eastern High Court.

Upon her return, Oliver’s mother was granted sole custody by Austrian authorities, and granted Sørensen only three hours of supervised contact with the boy every three weeks, during which he was not allowed to speak Danish.

Janus Bang, Sørensen’s spokesperson, yesterday said that Sørensen was relieved by the Justice Ministry’s decision.

“It is the result that have always thought should be made,” Bang told Ekstra Bladet.

Bang said that Oliver’s mother refused an invitation to come to Denmark to resolve the issue.

Speaking to Ekstra Bladet in April, her lawyer, Britta Schönhart, said that the Austrian courts did not recognise the decision of the Danish courts.

“In Austria the we believe that Oliver is an Austrian and that the mother has full parental custody,” Schönhart said.

The decision not to hand over Sørensen was unusual as, according to TV2 News, Danish authorities honour the vast majority of international arrest warrants.

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