Poland won’t extradite autistic boy to the Netherlands

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A court in Warsaw, Poland, has ruled that 8-year-old Martin, a boy with autism, will remain with his parents who are being prosecuted by Dutch authorities with a European arrest warrant for alleged abduction.

Martin’s parents are a Russian-Australian couple, Ekaterina and Conrad Hertog, who have been prosecuted by Dutch authorities through a European arrest warrant since June 2020.

In 2018, the autistic boy was forcibly taken away from his parents by Dutch social services, who accused the parents of neglect after neighbors made reports to authorities. The neighbors claimed that the boy was a victim of domestic abuse. For the first 13 months, the parents were forbidden to even see their child. In the end, Ekaterina and Conrad decided to flee to Poland with their son.

On Christmas Eve 2020, a Polish court decided to extradite the boy to the Netherlands. Michał Wójcik, a minister in the prime minister’s chancellery, put forward a notion to the state prosecutor’s office to immediately consider halting the verdict from being fulfilled. Wójcik called the verdict an “incredible scandal”.

Law and Justice (PiS) MP Kazimierz Smoliński, who has intervened in Martin’s case on several occasions, stated that a “probation officer had given a positive opinion to Martin’s family and emphasized that extraditing the boy would not be humanitarian”. Smoliński emphasized that instead the judge from the court did not even consider the positive opinions about Ekaterina and Conrad.

Wójcik posted on social media that the Warsaw District Court ruled that Martin will not be extradited to the Netherlands:

“The child of the Russian-Australian couple will not be given up to the Dutch. This was the decision of the District Court in Warsaw which decided to stop the extradition. Thank you to the prosecutor’s for their incredible stance and my colleagues in the Ministry of Justice.”

As the parents’ attorney, Bartosz Lewandowski, emphasized on social media, the case will be appealed.

Title image: Martin with his parents, source: Twitter/Bartosz Lewandowski.

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