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Czech mom files complaint against Oslo with European Court of Human Rights

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Prague, Sept 5 (CTK) – Eva Michalakova, a Czech mother whose sons were taken from her by Norwegian authorities six years ago and recently stripped her of the parental rights, has filed a complaint against Oslo with the European Court of Human Rights, her defence lawyer Dora Bokova told CTK on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek told CTK that if the court accepts the complaint, Prague will support Michalakova at the Strasbourg-seated court.

“We are waiting for whether the court will accept the complaint. It has not rejected it for formal reasons so far,” Bokova said.

The Norwegian child welfare service took Denis, now 12, and David, now 8, from their Czech parents on suspicion of abuse, neglect and maltreatment in 2011. The parents were acquitted but the court still found the revealed facts serious and left the boys live each in a different step family.

The mother, who divorced her husband in the meantime, unsuccessfully appealed the authorities’ verdicts several times.

Her lawyers filed the complaint with the Strasbourg court in late July.

Michalakova complains that Norway, where she has been living, violated her right to family life, a just trial and freedom of speech.

The defence lawyers applied for the case to be handled preferentially as it involves children and a long-lasting impairing of family ties.

“We are ready to provide all possible help for the complaint to have the best possible effect,” Zaoralek said.

If the court accepts the complaint, the Czech Republic will seek arguments on what the Norwegian system failed to take into account while the Czech system considers it important, Zaoralek said.

Prague can also highlight in which respect the Norwegian system failed to protect [the Czech citizens’] rights, he said.

He dismissed critics’ accusation that the state had not done everything to help Michalakova and her sons.

Prague has used all available means to do so. The Czech prime minister and other ministers previously turned to Norway, Czech diplomacy handed several notes to it and ambassadors took all possible steps as well, Zaoralek said.

Michalakova’s lawyers and advocates say she was stripped of her parental right because she spoke about her case in the media.

Czech Radio previously cited a Norwegian court as saying that Michalakova used media at the cost of her sons’ privacy.

Norwegian authorities would not comment on the affair.

Some media and experts say it is impossible to assess the case objectively based on the position of one party to the dispute only.

Some time ago, the Norwegian embassy in Prague wrote on its website that Norwegian institutions are obliged to secrecy and to protect the Michalak boys’ privacy. That is why they cannot react to wrong assertions, nor can the media present the affair as based on all relevant information, the embassy said.

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