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Lithuania has not received Russia's request to hand over Gatayevs' foster children

Gatajevų drama: vieniems – didvyriai, kitiems – nusikaltėliai.
LŽ nuotr. / Gatayevs
Šaltinis: BNS
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Lithuania's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday it had not received any request to hand over children fostered by a Chechen couple to Russia.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not received any request regarding handover of Gatayevs' foster children to Russia, therefore, refrains from any further comments," Daiva Rimašauskaitė of the ministry told BNS.

Pavel Astakhov, the children's rights commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation, has said he asked the children's ombudsman and the minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Lithuania for help in returning six children from Russia home.

Astakhov's official website says the request referred to children of Khadidzhat and Malik Gatayevs, heads of foster home Rodnaya Semya, brought to Lithuania in 1997.

The family lives in a house in Lithuania, bought by international humanitarian organizations.

In early 2009, a Kaunas court found the Chechen couple guilty of violent treatment of their foster children, murder threats and high-handedness. They were each sentenced to 10 months in prison.

Another Kaunas court in September 2009 extended the punishments to 18 months. The Gatayevs disappeared after the verdict. A European arrest warrant was then issued, however, recalled in March 2010, as the Lithuanian Supreme Court ruled to reopen the case.

Human rights defenders said there were possible violations in the case - the media reported about interference of the State Security Department and possible involvement of Russia's special services.

In May this year, Lithuania's Court of Appeal annulled the ruling of Klaipėda Regional Court on the Gatayevs' search and arrest. According to the Court of Appeal's ruling, the Gatayevs were awaiting asylum in Finland, followed the case in Lithuania and informed courts in Lithuania about their representatives, so there was no basis to conclude that they were hiding.

BNS
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