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12° Nicosia,
14 June, 2024
 
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Huge child abduction case flops in Cypriot court

Defendants in Cypriot-Norwegian child abduction acquitted following dad’s vindication and warrant recall

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A criminal court in Cyprus has acquitted all remaining defendants in a high profile child abduction case, just months after a Norwegian court also vindicated the father of the young girl, whose Cypriot mother accused him six years ago of taking their daughter unlawfully.

Leif Torkel Grimsrud, a Norwegian father who was wanted in the Republic of Cyprus on kidnapping charges, was vindicated back in February by an appeals court in his native country, after judges accepted a previous lower court ruling that found the Cypriot mother of his young daughter had filed false claims to sway a custody hearing in her favor.

Grimsrud had been accused of kidnapping his daughter in April 2017, when he took her by the hand outside her kindergarten in Nicosia, in front of her Greek Cypriot mother, setting in motion an unprecedented manhunt that included helicopters flying over town and ports within minutes.

Local media this week said four defendants in the case were acquitted by a Cypriot criminal court, while a fifth person was never summoned to court.

Grimsrud was never prosecuted by Cypriot authorities but his name and photo remained published on an Interpol wanted list until early 2023, essentially preventing him from visiting to see his daughter

Even though the four defendants, including a foreign woman and a taxi driver, were found to have helped in some way the father while he was in Cyprus, the court did not find evidence linking them to the actual abduction.

The father, who had been saying all along that he wanted to reunite with his daughter after getting no cooperation from the mother or Cypriot authorities, has claimed that his daughter was abducted by the mother from their Norwegian home.

Knews has been told that Cypriot travel documents for the child were issued by the Cypriot government through a consulate office in Sweden, within two to three weeks after mother and daughter left their Oslo home in October 2015.

The mother maintains that the father was abusive, a claim he has vehemently rejected, while later a reconciliation attempt in Norway failed when the mother took her daughter and flew once again to Cyprus one day before a scheduled meeting with the dad.

Grimsrud was never prosecuted by Cypriot authorities but his name and photo remained published on an Interpol wanted list until early 2023, essentially preventing him from visiting the island to meet with his daughter.

Charges listed up until February included conspiracy to commit felony, conspiracy to commit misdemeanor, kidnapping from lawful guardianship, abduction of girls under sixteen, and assault.

In late February the Interpol notice did not appear on the site after Norwegian judges unanimously called on that country’s law enforcement and judicial authorities to work together “so that the father will not be a wanted man in Cyprus in order to really have the opportunity to travel there and have contact with his child.”

A previous ruling in Oslo that also vindicated Grimsrud had included references to Cypriot justice, suggesting courts, police, and the judicial authorities on the island denied Norwegian authorities access to legal procedures.

Cypriot authorities have declined to comment on the case.

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