We have lost count how many times we have traveled to Egypt to attempt to locate children that have been abducted by a parent. We have conducted numerous recoveries in Egypt with current cases still pending and in our experience it doesn’t matter what court documents you have within the legal system, it all comes down to who you know.
The authorities will not budge unless they are bribed or you know someone high up, in Egypt money talks not the law. The inaction of the Egyptian Government and Police continues to frustrate us.
In fact we have met with the head of Interpol Egypt in Cairo and he has advised that there is nothing they can do even with a Interpol red notice arrest warrant as parental abduction is NOT a crime Egypt. Interpol have massive files on abducted children that remain stagnant on their desks as there is no cooperation from the local authorities. This was proven to us when in the Interpol office. They told us even if they contacted curtain Egyptian police districts, the local police in that area would not do anything because (again) it’s NOT a crime. So what the hell is the point….
As Egypt is not a signatory to the Hague Convention and never will be no matter what orders a left behind parent may have in their habitual country they are useless. The only option for a parent to retrieve a child through the legal system is to engage a family lawyer specialised in child abduction. Even this is not a guarantee and during your process with the Egyptian legal system you will be urged to pay bribes for absolutely everything. If you are lucky enough to connect with someone high up in the chain that can pull some strings that is your best chance in the Egyptian legal playing field. Also remember it’s Sharia Law that runs Egypt. We have also come across many many corrupt lawyers in Egypt.
This is why the enquiries for recoveries to Egypt never cease, there is really no other option for parents and CARI is constantly fielding enquiries from desperate parents. The USA has flagged Egypt as being no compliant and uncooperative with US/Egypt cases. Australia and Egypt have a Bi Lateral Agreement but this is only effective is both parents are prepared to mediate and believe us, 99.9% of Abductors will never sit down and mediate.
On our many trips to Egypt locating abducted children is not an easy task when you take into account the sparse geographical landscape and the ease to jump borders into Libya. Abductors have no hesitation crossing into war torn and ISIS controlled areas in Libya seeking protection without a single concern for the safety of their child. Children that are abducted into Egypt are often leading fugitive lifestyles, going off the radar and hiding into caves.
We know of only a handful cases where the Egyptian Government have intervened and successful recovered abducted children and returned them to their custodial parent and habitual residence and they have only been due to someone knowing someone. Embassies in Egypt are useless. We know of embassy officials in numerous cases who have approached the Egyptian government with little to nothing being done. Again the myth that Embassies will help you overseas is proven in cases of abduction in Egypt.
So what can we say about Egypt? If your child has already been abducted and you are aware your child is in Egypt do your research, engage an Egyptian lawyer who specialises in Child Abduction. Ask for their credentials and details of past cases. Ask them to disclose their success rates and forget whatever orders you may have in your home country as from our experience the Egyptians won’t care. And be very careful of sending money to lawyers until you are 100% sure they are the correct one.
I am also going to answer the question that we are asked at least once a week “Should I let my child go on a holiday to Egypt with their parent. Honestly the answer we are always going to give is a absolutely resounding No. Don’t let yourself be fooled by your ex or their families. In every case we have dealt with in Egypt the abductors family is always involved and behind it. The Egyptian grandparents will be taking care and raising your abducted children should you allow them to go to Egypt. Prevention is better than the cure and with all the countries we have traveled to and systems we have worked with, Egypt is by far one of the most difficult. Don’t take the risk, your children are too precious to be held hostage to an abducting parent and a corrupt country that always aids the abductor.