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5 Apr, 2019 15:23

Love & justice: Russian family reunited by Polish court decision after fleeing Sweden

Love & justice: Russian family reunited by Polish court decision after fleeing Sweden

A Russian father, who fled with his three daughters to Poland, going against Swedish social services which put the children in a Muslim foster family, finally received justice as a Polish court allowed the girls to stay with him.

On Wednesday a Polish court decision, ruling that Swedish social services had violated an EU convention that forbids placing children in foreign cultural environments, ended a forced separation of a father and his daughters who are 12, 6 and 4 years old.

Denis Lisov, who came to Sweden seven years ago, learned that social services decided to take away his three daughters and place them in a Muslim foster family after his wife was admitted to a hospital with mental illness. The services decided that Denis, who wasn’t officially employed at the time, couldn’t take proper care of the girls.

Though Lisov's family formally retained custody of the children, the father only had the right to see them six hours a week.

According to his lawyer, the family was given no opportunities to defend their rights and the girls didn’t want to stay in a foster family. One of the main problems was that the children came from a Christian family and found it difficult to abide by the rules of the Muslim household.

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After a year apart Denis Lisov took desperate measures to leave Sweden for Russia with his daughters. However, the family was stopped in Warsaw by Polish authorities as Sweden reported the girls missing. Through the intervention of Russian diplomats and lawyers, the children were not sent back to Sweden, and the case was handed to the courts.

“The children have a very strong bond with the father, and when I talked to them they told me that they want to stay with him,” Judge Janeta Seliga-Kaczmarek said, as quoted by Swedish media. The court also decided that the father had to stay in Poland until his refugee status was granted.

The case has received a lot of attention in all three countries. Polish Interior Minister Joachim Brudziński praised the ruling tweeting “The Court decided that the children should stay with their father. Well done the police and the border police.”

In Russia, children’s ombudswoman Anna Kuznetsova thanked her Polish counterpart for the attention to the matter and promised assistance to the Lisov family.

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