The case concerned a child born in Turkey in 1997. After his parents’ divorce in 2001, the child was placed in his father’s sole custody, with the mother having rights of access. In July 2002, the mother and her brother left for a month’s holiday with the child. She failed to return the child to his father on 31 July as agreed.
Starting on 2 August 2002, several complaints and proceedings were brought in Turkey, and Interpol issued a yellow missing-person notice in December 2002. In January 2003, the child was located in France and a return order was issued on the basis of the Hague Convention, but he could not be located at the time of execution of the order.
In June 2003, the child was located in a refugee shelter in Bern, Switzerland. Return proceedings under the Convention were brought but the child had been recorded as “missing” in the meantime. The father went to Switzerland to perform investigations by himself. He obtained testimony and entered several complaints in Switzerland.
In January 2004, the Swiss Central Authority informed Interpol in Ankara that the investigations had been fruitless. The father went to Switzerland again and informed the authorities in February that the mother was working as a maid and that the child was registered in school “under another name”. However, this information did not enable the Swiss authorities to locate the child.
In July 2004, the father filed a complaint for abduction before the Court of the arrondissement of Lausanne, which took no action upon it since the child had not been located there. On 18 August 2004, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the Ministries of the Interior and of Justice that the investigations relating to the child would be more effective pursuant to international criminal mutual assistance and asked them to send the record of implementation for that procedure.
On 15 October 2004, the Swiss authorities informed the father that his son had been located in Basel. The father, who was in Switzerland, applied for immediate return of his son, accommodated in a shelter in the town. On 18 November 2004, the father and son flew to Ankara. On arrival at the airport, they were both apprehended and detained owing to a restriction ordered previously for the fugitives. They were released on the following day.