Family seek return of boy abducted to Egypt
Government called on to instigate extradition treaty with Egypt
Norma Heeney with Amir Ismaeil and Faris Daniel Heeney. Faris was taken to Egypt by Mr Ismaeil’s brother Moustafa Ismaeil, who dressed him up as a girl and flew him out on a passport belonging to a four-year-old female cousin of the child.
The family of a six-year-old Irish boy who was abducted by his father have called on the Government to instigate an extradition treaty with Egypt to have the child returned to Ireland.
Faris Heeney was just two when his father, Amir Ismaeil, an Egyptian national who was working in Ireland, had his son smuggled out of the country on July 28th, 2009.
He and the mother of the child, Norma Heeney, had been estranged. The child was spending two days with his father when he was smuggled out of the country.
Faris was taken to Egypt by Mr Ismaeil’s brother Moustafa Ismaeil, who dressed him up as a girl and flew him out on a passport belonging to the child’s four-year-old female first cousin.
The case was described as one of the “very worst category of offences” in relation to the issue of child abduction by the Court of Criminal Appeal, which upheld Moustafa Ismaeil’s six-year sentence, which he is currently serving in Portlaoise Prison.
The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan, concluded: “Not only did the applicant not plead guilty, he did not show genuine remorse and there was no evidence of any real or sustained effort to have the child returned to his mother.”
The Court of Criminal Appeal forwarded its judgment to Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore outlining the court’s “deep concern that a young Irish citizen was being detained with apparent impunity in a friendly country”.
Moustafa Ismaeil was arrested when he returned to Ireland four days after leaving the country. His brother Amir, who organised the abduction, was questioned by gardaí but not charged.
He and his younger brother Tamer, who also lived in Ireland, fled the country through Belfast and now live in Egypt with Faris. The child’s mother said her attempts to have her son returned to Ireland were hampered by the absence of an extradition treaty with Egypt, which would allow Amir Ismaeil to be returned to Ireland for questioning.
She said they had never “been approached with help”, though the Department of Foreign Affairs said it had offered the Heeney family consular assistance. A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman said the case was complicated because Egypt was not part of the Hague Convention.
He said Mr Gilmore did raise the issue with his opposite number, as had Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin when he was minister for foreign affairs. The spokesman also said there had been a criminal prosecution in relation to the case and that the Egyptian criminal authorities had a role in the case.