herald

Thursday 13 December 2018

Irish mum fears for her life after dad abducts girl

A DISTRAUGHT Dublin mum whose daughter was abducted by her Syrian dad has revealed she fears for her own safety.

Louise Monaghan (36), who comes from Swords, in north Co Dublin, has been forced to lock herself inside her home in southern Cyprus because she believes that she is being stalked by her ex-husband's friends.

Louise's six-year-old daughter, May Assad Monaghan, disappeared after going on a walk with her father Mostafa Assad on Wednesday.

Mostafa has since contacted his ex-wife and threatened her that she would never see their child again unless she sold her belongings in Cyprus and moved to Syria to live the life of a Muslim woman and be by his side.

Louise, who got divorced from Mostafa last November, now fears for her safety in Cyprus as she believes she is being watched by his friends.







Terrified

Her sister, Mandy (34), flew out to support her earlier this week.

She said that Louise was terrified for her child and wanted to go see her as soon as possible despite her family's concerns that they would never see her again if she flew to war-torn Syria.

"We're just absolutely devastated," Mandy said. "Louise just wants her baby back.

"But now we can't go anywhere. There are people watching the house and following us wherever we go.

"We will have to leave here.

"Louise has only lived here for eight years but Mostafa has been here for over 20 (years).

"He knows everybody.

"She's spoken to Mostafa on the phone.

"He seems to know everything she's done and everywhere she's gone.

"If we speak to the police he seems to know about it, anywhere we go he seems to know.

"We just want May back so we can go back to Ireland.

"Mostafa has said if she wants to see her again she has to come to Syria and live the life of a Muslim woman.

"She just wants to go because she will see her baby again," she added.

Cypriot police have since issued an arrest warrant for Assad, saying they believed he had arrived in his hometown of Idlib, in Syria, with May.

An emergency passport was issued for the little girl yesterday in the hope that she may be brought home.

It is understood that Assad managed to get his daughter out of the country with a passport he took last year and which had been cancelled.

Violent protests have taken place in Syria since January after part of the population started demanding greater political freedom. The stand-off has led to more than 2,200 deaths over the past nine months.

Louise's family are worried that it will be very difficult to get May back from the middle eastern country as it has not signed the Hague Convention, which forces child abductors to be taken back to the nation they fled.

"All we can do now is pray that the Irish government steps in and does something," Mandy said.







Passport

"We are praying that they can get her back.

"May has an Irish passport, she is an Irish citizen, someone has to help her.

"Louise wants to go to Syria to get May back but we are all terrified that if she goes we might not see either of them again.

"The law in Syria is very much on the side of the father and we know we have a hard battle on our hands.

"All we can do now is pray."

hnews@herald.ie

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