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St. Petersburg schoolgirl held by her father in Turkey is in Russian embassy — ombudsman

November 03, 17:36 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG

According to the girl, her father was forcibly holding her in Turkey and making attend a religious school

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ST. PETERSBURG, November 3. /TASS/. A schoolgirl from St. Petersburg who reported that her father is forcibly holding her in Turkey and making attend a religious school is in the Russian embassy. The girl was taken right from school by her grandmother and aunt who came from Russia. The girl’s father, for his part, turned to police, St. Petersburg child’s rights ombudsman Svetlana Agapitova told reporters on Friday.

Earlier, the Russian diplomatic mission’s press attache Irina Kasimova told TASS that the Russian Embassy in Ankara and the Russian Consulate General in Istanbul are working to settle the situation.

"They went to Turkey and, as they failed to reach agreement with the father on good terms, they took the girl from school yesterday. All of them are now on the territory of the embassy. However, the father submitted a report that his daughter had been abducted from school by unidentified people," Agapitova specified.

She added that the embassy found a lawyer who will submit to the court a suit on cruel treatment of the child. "A decision on suspension of the father’s discharge of parental duties will be taken in the near future on the basis of the girl’s statement of cruel treatment," Agapitova said.

The grandmother will most probably become the girl’s temporary guardian and will have to stay in Turkey during all this time, she said. The father has the girl’s documents, but he is not ready to give them and plans to defend his parental authority in court.

The grandmother and the aunt turned to the child’s rights ombudsman’s office in late August, when the girl signaled that her father is not going to take her back to Russia. The Russian embassy in Turkey made a check on the basis of the child’s rights ombudsman’s appeal, after which they said there is no danger to the girl’s life and health. The child’s father, a Russian citizen, explained during the check that he is going to bring his daughter up himself, because he is her only legal guardian. The girl’s mother had died.

According to Agapitova, after that the child’s father tried to talk to reach agreement with the relatives - the girl’s grandmother and aunt - kept in touch with them and tried to impress upon them that the girl will be better off in Turkey and that he will control her behavior and bring her up.

The Russian criminal case

The Russian Investigative Committee’s Investigative Directorate for St. Petersburg is probing into a criminal case against a Russian citizen, aged 40, who has residence permit in Turkey. He is suspected of forcibly holding his daughter in Turkey and, thus, driving her to a suicide attempt, the Investigative Committee’s press service reported earlier.

According to the criminal case materials, on July 31, the 15-year-old St. Petersburg resident came to Turkey to visit her father. She wanted to get permission from him for registration of her grandmother’s guardianship. However, the teenage says, the man canceled her return air ticket, took her documents from her and did not allow her to communicate with her relatives in St. Petersburg. The agency added that work is underway to prepare an appeal to the Turkish side to take the Russian girl back to homeland and extradite her father.

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