“Stolen-in-UK” children coming back  to Portugal

“Stolen-in-UK” children coming back to Portugal

The five Portuguese children forcibly removed from their parents over 15 months ago by British authorities are on their way back to Portugal.
It is the news their mother and father, Carla and José Pedro, have been praying for.
Ever since their children were taken by British authorities last year, the couple have been campaigning for their return.
But it wasn’t until the pair took part in a high-profile appeal to the European Parliament last month that Portuguese authorities sat up and took notice.
Supported by the “voluntary public interest advocacy” of McKenzie Friend campaigner Sabine Kurjo McNeill, the Pedro’s went public on what was described as an insidious scandal in the UK involving judges, lawyers and social workers effectively ‘kidnapping’ as many as 4500 children every year – the majority of them from foreigners.
Days after the story broke, the Pedro’s found themselves arrested by police in their hometown of Grantham.
As Sabine McNeill wrote in her blog: “The Pedros were the first to be persecuted for having travelled to Brussels on 19 March 2014.
“They were arrested on 21 March for 12 hours and the Search Warrant said the Police ought to look for evidence of the “Forced Adoption Group”.
The arrest resulted in police confiscating the Portuguese couple’s telephones, computers and travel documents and putting out the suggestion that the couple were conspiring to abduct their own children.
As Sabine McNeill pointed out, it was a “charge yet to be seen formulated on paper”.
Indeed, it remains a charge that will almost certainly never be made.
Following the timely intervention of Portugal’s secretary of state for communities José Cesário, social aide José Galaz and Portuguese consul in Manchester Carlos Sousa Amaro, Lincolnshire Social Services have at last agreed to hand the Pedro’s five children (aged from 14 to 3) to counterparts in Portugal.
It is precisely the solution wanted by the Pedro’s who told journalists in March that once their children are transferred to Portuguese social services in Portugal, they will have a far greater chance of getting them back.
“We have all the proof we need”, Carla told SIC TV.
The couple will almost certainly now be moving back to Portugal, following their children to whichever institution the Portuguese authorities decide to place them in.
According to Público newspaper, a home has already been identified with places available for all the children.
Speaking to the Algarve Resident earlier this month, Carla Pedro said if successful in their bid to get the children put into the care of Portuguese social services, the couple would leave England “never to return”. They have been living in UK for the last 11 years.
Their nightmare began after their oldest child – a boy with mental problems – told social workers at his school that his father had beaten him.
It is an allegation that the child later retracted repeatedly.
The Pedro’s two youngest children were due to be put up for adoption on April 1, but this too has now been stymied.
We will be attempting to talk to Carla Pedro for more details on what has to be seen as a major victory for immigrant parents fighting a system they have little knowledge of.
The only British MP that seems to be supporting cases like this one is Liberal Democrat John Hemming who, as Chairman of Justice for Families, is said to have 2000 similar cases on his hands.
In an interview with BBC’s Panorama programme last year, Hemming said the best option for parents suspected of child abuse in the UK was for them to flee the country
“You can’t get a fair trial here because you cannot rely on the evidence being fair. It’s best simply to go if you can, at the right time, lawfully”, he said.