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Czech president calls on Norwegian king to speed up Michalák brothers’ custody case

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Prague, June 9 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman wrote last week to Norwegian King Harald V over the case of the Czech Michalak brothers whom the Norwegian social service took from their parents and asked him to help solve it in the interest of the children, his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told journalists yesterday.
Zeman wrote that the case has affected Czech-Norwegian relations as well as Norway’s image in the Czech Republic for a long time, Ovcacek said.
He said Zeman had a meeting with the Norwegian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Siri Ellen Seltner, at Prague Castle in February during which he expressed disagreement with the steps taken by the Norwegian authorities.
Ovcacek said the situation has become even more dramatic since then. The Norwegian Barnevernet social service now considers the possibility of stripping the boys’s mother, Eva Michalakova, of all her parental rights because she publicised her case in the Czech media.
Ovcacek said Zeman wrote to King Harald V that Michalakova enjoys mass support of Czech citizens and that he, who is also a father, is not indifferent to the case either.
Zeman wrote that Michalakova’s publicising the case is rather a desperate step taken by a desperate mother who, feeling the deepest hopelessness, decided to call for help, not an inability to push aside her own feelings and needs as Barnervern interprets it, Ovcacek said.
He said with his letter, Zeman also wants to point out that Michalakova is losing her parental ties to her sons as time goes by.
Zeman wrote that he would be much obliged to King Harald V if he, using his position and within his powers and possibilities, could stand up for a quick and objective solution to the case with regard to the children’s interests, Ovcacek said.
Barnevernet took the two boys, now 10 and 6.5 years old, from the Michalak family in May 2011 due to suspected sexual abuse and maltreatment in the family. The Norwegian police investigated the case, but they halted the investigation and no charges were brought. Despite it, a Norwegian court confirmed the social authorities’s decision
The children now live in Norwegian foster families. Michalakova wants to get her children back, but she has not yet succeeded. Barnevernet has proposed that Michalakova be stripped of her parental rights and that the younger boy be put up for adoption.
The Czech Office for International Legal Protection of Children (UMPOD) has protested against this because the Norwegian side reassured the Czech side that adoption is out of the question recently.

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