Contentious Oliver custody case appears to near completion

A letter sent to both parents allegedly from Danish and Austrian officials declares that they have “no further duties” in cross-border kidnapping saga

The ‘Oliver’ custody case is over, at least according to a letter purported to be from authorities in both Austria and Denmark. A copy of a letter addressed to both parents and bearing the letterhead of both the Austrian Justice Ministry and the Danish Ministry for Social Affairs, Children and Integration obtained by The Copenhagen Post states: 

“By decisions made by the competent Austrian and Danish courts, the cases on return are terminated.”

The letter (see it below) states that "relevant sections of the law […] including the Hague Conventions on international child abduction, have been met" and that “as central authorities, we do not have any further duties and tasks under the conventions concerning Oliver”.

Long, twisted tale
The Oliver saga began in September 2012 when the boy’s Danish father, Thomas Sørensen, travelled to Austria and took his son, who was five at the time, out of the car belonging to his Austrian mother, Marion Weilharter, while she was dropping the boy off at kindergarten.

An Austrian court handed Sørensen a one-year suspended sentence last year for unlawful imprisonment, child abduction and serious assault. Sørensen has always maintained that he did not kidnap the child and was exercising rights granted to him by the Danish courts.

“Oliver’s mother left the country with Oliver after I started custody proceedings,” Sørensen told The Copenhagen Post. “Once Danish courts granted me custody, she herself was guilty of child abduction.”

Weilharter has always argued that children with an Austrian parent automatically receive Austrian citizenship – even if born outside the country.

No official confirmation
Oliver remains with his father, and Weilharter said that she has only spoken to her son, via telephone, twice in the past year. 

In closing down official responsibility in the case, the letter offers to try and get the two sides together.

“Given the circumstances that Oliver currently only has contact with one of his parents, we would like to offer you the possibility to find a solution through mediation facilitated by a joint co-operation between Austrian and Danish authorities,” the letter states.

Weilharter said that she first received a copy of the letter today, nearly a week after it began appearing on various Facebook sites and days after it was sent to The Copenhagen Post. She said that the copy she received had no date, no case number or any of the other identifying marks that she world expect on official correspondence.

"Official letters in Austria have a very specific look, and this letter does not look official," she told The Copenhagen Post. She said that since rumours of the letter began surfacing on Facebook last week, she has tried in vain to get Austrian authorities to verify or deny its existence. She said she felt it was “very strange” that those related to Sørensen were publicising the letter across the web before she had received a copy. She also said that the copy she finally received came directly to her home address.

"Correspondence about the case usually goes to my lawyer, but this came directly to my home."

The original copy of the letter sent to The Copenhagen Post came from an email account registered to a woman with the same name as Thomas Sørensen’s mother. The bottom portion of that letter was cut off, making it impossible to see who may have signed it.  After several attempts to contact the sender, The Copenhagen Post was sent a new version of the letter including the signatures, along with assurances that the letter was indeed authentic and that Sørensen had accepted the deal. The signatory on the letter from Austria is Robert Fucik, while Merethe Johansen signed representing "the Danish Central Authority".

Weilharter said that she has tried in vain to speak to Fucik or his superiors.

A spokesperson for the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs, Children and Integration said that they could not, under Danish law, verify if such a letter had actually been sent because they could not discuss specific custody cases with anyone other than the child’s parents. Austrian authorities said the same.

Sørensen did not respond to requests for comments, and emails to Johansen went unanswered.

Not over, says Oliver's mother
Weilharter said that regardless of whether the letter was real or not, the case is not closed for her and that she continues to battle for the return of her son through the European Parliament and the United Nations. She maintains that she has international custody of Oliver and that Sørensen is breaking the law by refusing to return him.

“This case is by no means over for me and will never be closed until Oliver is back in Austria with me,” she told The Copenhagen Post.

Letter purported to be from Danish and Austrian authorities