Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
These images show the moment a mother in Serbia is reunited with her three children fours years after they were allegedly abducted by their dad who took them to Turkey and later Iran.
The emotional reunion took place at Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport in the Serbian capital four years after siblings Esma, 15, Ajsa, 14, and Tarik, 8, were reportedly taken from the country by their father.
Dad Eyup Sabri Yundzhu reportedly kidnapped his children from their flat in Belgrade and took them to his native Turkey without the permission of the mother.
Mother Slavica Burmazovic told reporters at the time: “In the morning, before the kids got up, he picked up a gun from the drawer and put it in his bag, then he told me to watch what I was doing.
“In the meantime, the children got up and went down with him in front of the building, and I tried to see the licence plates from the window. When he arrived at the airport, he sent me a picture and wrote that I would never see my children again.”
The mother reported the case to the police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia characterised the case as an international abduction.
In March 2016 a Turkish court ordered the children to be returned to their mother’s custody, but the father, despite a ban, reportedly fled Turkey after the decision, saying at the time: “I would rather burn all three of my children than return them to (their mother) Slavica! Maybe she’s their mother, but I’m their father, and that’s more important in my country.”
The unhappy mother protested in front of the Serbian government in June 2017 and asked Turkish media to ask citizens to report anybody who recognises her children to report it to the police.
At the end of May 2018, Slavica told local media that she had been able to find her children in the Iranian capital Tehran. Their father had reportedly taken them there and she managed to speak to them on the phone but their dad reportedly stopped her from seeing them.
A deal was eventually made between Minister Ivica Dacic and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif, and the children were allowed to return to their mother Slavica Burmazovic.
They were brought to Serbia by the Serbian Ambassador to Iran Dragan Todorovic, because this was the only possible way as they did not have proper documents or exit visas.
The mother told reporters after the reunion: “I would not want any mother to relive what I have, ever.”
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