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Zeman: Czech ambassador to Oslo should be recalled over Michalák case

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Prague, Oct 6 (CTK) – The Czech ambassador to Norway might be recalled for consultations over the Norwegian decision in the case of the Michalak brothers whose Czech mother was stripped of her parental rights, President Milos Zeman said in an interview with CTK Tuesday.

He called it an exaggeration that he would not consider the idea of expelling the Norwegian ambassador from Prague bad, which he said previously.

The Norwegian Child Welfare Service (Barnevernet) took the boys away from their parents, in Norway in May 2011 on suspicion of abuse and neglect which was not proved, however. The Michalaks were living in Norway then.

Norwegian authorities have put the younger son up for adoption these days and they have stripped the mother, Eva Michalakova, of her parental rights to her older son as well, thus banning her contact with the boys. She will appeal the verdict.

Leading Czech politicians, including PM Bohuslav Sobotka and Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD), criticised the Norwegian decision Tuesday.

In reaction to it, Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek has written on Twitter that Zeman considers it “not a bad idea” to expel the Norwegian ambassador, as proposed by Czech MEP Tomas Zdechovsky (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL).

“I slightly exaggerated when saying it. The alternative of the Czech ambassador to Norway being called back for ‘consultations’ can be rather taken into consideration. It happens in case the government of a sovereign state wants to stand up for its citizens,” Zeman told CTK.

He said he would consider it an efficient gesture if the government decided so. “As an expression of a certain disagreement with Norwegian policy in this area,” Zeman said.

He pointed out that other people and organisations were complaining about Barnevernet, too.

In the past, Zeman wrote a letter to Norwegian King Harald V over the Michalak boys. He received an answer from the respective Norwegian minister, referring to the independent character of the Barnevernet office, Zeman told CTK Tuesday.

“Nevertheless, if I am well informed, Norway is to join the international convention on children’s protection, which may give us some other possibilities,” he said.

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