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24 Mar, 2009 21:30

Mother of kidnapped toddler wanted by France

An arrest warrant has been issued by France for the mother of three-year-old Liza, who was abducted last Friday. The girl’s French father believes it was her Russian mother who was responsible for the kidnapping.

This detective story is far from reaching a conclusion, and more twists are being added by the day. The location of three-year-old Lisa is still unknown, but even if the girl is in Russia there is not much local authorities can do.

Lisa is her name in Russia, but she’s Elise in French police reports. The girl was pulled right out of her father’s hands in the French city of Arles and Jean Michelle Andre was badly beaten during the incident.

He says the mother of the girl – Russian citizen Irina Belyenkaya – took part in the kidnapping.

Russia's Interior Ministry said they simply do not have any legal basis for arresting the mother or returning the girl. According to Russian laws, a close relative cannot be a kidnapper.

For the past two years the parents have been locked in a bitter row over the girl’s custody. Further, the courts in Russia and France have made mutually exclusive rulings.

Lisa was born in Russia and is a Russian citizen. Her mother proved parental custody through a Russian court, therefore she cannot be prosecuted for kidnapping.

“We will provide information about the current location of the girl, no more than that. When she’s in France with her father she’s under French legislation, but if she’s in Russia with her mother, French laws will have no effect on our rulings,” said Oleg Yelnikov, a spokesman of the Interior Ministry.

Despite the difficulties, the father is still confident he will get the child back.

“It will be hard. I know the chances of me getting her back from Russia are slim. The mother of my daughter knows it well. But it’s not the first time I have to start from scratch,” Andre said.

Almost two years ago Lisa was kidnapped by her father, right out of her stroller within sight of her nanny. The mother was desperate to get her back and even appeared on Russian TV shows to plead her case.