Europe

Mother battling to get her two-year-old son back from ex in Algeria

What is the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act?

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A mother is in a “shocking and profoundly depressing” situation as she fights to get her two-year-old son home to Britain, away from her ex who is keeping him in Algeria. Yanis Bennabi was taken to the North African country by his parents in November 2021 “for a holiday” but when they got there his dad started divorce proceedings against his mum.

And when his dad Siddali started the proceedings he “retained” the travel documents belonging to Yanis and his mum Samira Addou.

Ms Addou managed to return to London in February, with the help of the British embassy in Algeria, but “Algerian border police” had prevented Yanis from travelling, judges have heard.

Lawyers representing Ms Addou say Yanis was subsequently “forcibly removed” from the care of Ms Addou’s family by Mr Bennabi.

Her legal team is appealing for help to reunite her with Yanis, who was born in Feltham, west London, just days before the start of the Covid lockdown in March 2020.

She has been separated from Yanis for almost a year and her legal representatives, Dawson Cornwell solicitors, are urging anyone with information which could help to contact the firm.

Ms Addou, an Algerian who has permanent leave stay in Britain, has taken legal action against Yanis’s father in a bid to get her son back.

Hearings have been held in private in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

But a judge overseeing the latest stage of the litigation has now ruled that Yanis, who has been made a ward of court, can be named in media reports of the case in the hope that publicity will help reunite him with Ms Addou.

Mr Justice Francis has handed Mr Bennabi a suspended jail term after concluding that he had breached orders aimed at returning Yanis to Britain and was in contempt of court.

The judge imposed an 18-month-old jail term, suspended for two years, at a hearing on Friday.

He said his primary aim was to return Yanis, not to jail Mr Bennabi, who, he was told, had Algerian and British passports.

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In a written case outline on Friday, Barrister Mani Basi, who is leading Ms Addou’s legal team, told Mr Justice Francis: “Yanis has been in Algeria since November 30 2021, whereupon the mother and Yanis were stranded by the father,”

“Yanis has been there without his mother, his primary carer, since February 1 2022, when the mother had to return to this jurisdiction without him to seek the court’s assistance.”

He added: “The father is now in Algeria and he has deprived Yanis (of) the ability to have a relationship with his mother.”

Mr Justice Francis said Ms Addou was in a “shocking and profoundly depressing” situation.

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