Polish court protects Dutch family who fled the Netherlands with their autistic son

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Conrad and Katya den Hertog, along with their 7-year-old son Martin, are residing in Poland while trying to obtain legal protection due to a European arrest warrant issued by Dutch authorities.

The couple is represented by Bartosz Lewandowski, an Ordo Iuris lawyer, whose legal organization has previously supported parents who have sought protection in Poland from Western child services.

The Australian-Russian couple have been living in the Netherlands for several years. On February 2018, following accusations from neighbours, Dutch authorities took the child away from the family home and placed him in foster care. 

The parents claim that for the next 13 months, they only had limited opportunities to see Martin, with visits permitted for a few hours a week. They deny claims of neglect, saying that their son’s developmental disorder has been mistaken as a sign of abuse.

According to sources informed of the whole affair, Martin deeply suffered without his parents and his mental state regressed in the care center.

After being unable to reunite with their son in their home country, the couple removed their son from foster care and escaped to Poland to find asylum.

On Monday, the district court in Warsaw decided that Martin’s parents will not be handed over to Dutch authorities.

The couple’s lawyer, Lewandowski, shared information about the court decision through social media.

“Martin’s mother is safe in Poland! According to the court: 1) there are doubts whether Dutch courts are independent from other authorities; 2) there is concern for the freedom of Martin and his parents, 3) there is a real threat to the rights and freedom of the family in the Netherlands; 4) evidence showed that the boy develops well only with his biological family; and 5) due to Dutch legislation, the boy could be euthanized.”

Warsaw’s district court also pointed out that Dutch courts do not want to return dangerous criminals back to Poland based on false claims from the EU that Poland is allegedly breaking the rule of law. 

It is unsurprising that the parents sought asylum in Poland as Polish courts and other state institutions are conducting an efficient campaign in defense of families for several years.

Polish court investigators are convinced that returning the family to Dutch authorities would deeply harm the couple.

There are also legal doubts deporting the parents back to the Netherlands considering that the parents were never stripped of their parental rights and they were merely limited.

Title image: Katya den Hertog with her son Martin in Poland, source: TT/Bartosz Lewandowski.

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