Bannotti helps German woman track son abducted to Western Samoa


FRIENDS of a woman who has travelled from Ireland to Western Samoa to look for her abducted son are optimistic they will be reunited sometime this week.

Ms Christine Wagner, who has lived in Cork for three years, has enlisted the aid of Fine Gael MEP, Ms Mary Banotti, EU mediator for abducted children, to get her child back from his father.

Ms Wagner is a German national who had legal custody of her only child, Tom, aged nine. His father, also from Germany and married to Ms Wagner's sister, had visiting rights but left for Western Samoa towards the end of 1995 with Tom.

The German courts issued a warrant for his arrest in March 1996 but since there is no extradition arrangement between the Pacific country and Germany, this has not been acted on.

Ms Wagner contacted Ms Banotti in December after she helped another west Cork resident get back her twins, who had also been abducted by their father.

Ms Banotti was optimistic that Ms Wagner would bring her son home at the weekend. This week the attorney general in Western Samoa visited the child who is living with his father, his wife and their three children. The authorities are also questioning his permit to stay in the country.

Ms Banotti said the Western Samoan authorities had been very understanding and helpful. "They are hopeful the case will be resolved this week," she added.