Wednesday, December 23, 2009

U.S. Dad a Step Closer to Bringing Son Home from Brazil

Brazil high court lifts stay, allowing boy to return to U.S.
CNN's Mariano Castillo and Adam Reiss contributed to this report.

The chief justice of the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in favor of an American father in an international custody battle.

The ruling by Chief Justice Gilmar Mendes will reunite a 9-year-old boy with his father, David Goldman, who has been locked in a custody battle with the family of the boy's deceased mother.

Last week, a lower court unanimously upheld a decision ordering that Sean Goldman be returned to his father in New Jersey.

David Goldman arrived in Rio de Janeiro to reunite with his son, but one Supreme Court justice issued a stay, ordering Sean to remain with his Brazilian relatives until the high court could consider the case.

Mendes' decision lifted the stay, paving the way for Goldman to be reunited with his son.

Sean's grandmother, Silvana Bianchi, was expected to immediately file appeals to Tuesday's ruling.

In a letter to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Bianchi said that the legal process was overlooking the boy's own desires.

'I feel threatened by losing my grandson Sean because of international pressures that don't consider the interest of a 9-year-old child who passionately desires to remain among those that gave him comfort in the mother's death,' the letter states in part. 'They allege that the Hague Convention determined to hand him over immediately. I am not a lawyer. But what I know is that the Convention establishes as priority the interest of the child, and the child wasn't heard.' ...

While the chief justice was still studying the case, Brazilian Attorney General Luis Inacio Adams said the executive branch sides with Goldman.

'Once we stop cooperating and start breaking our treaties and international obligations, Brazil risks the chance of not having its own requests in the matters regarding international judicial help granted, based on the principle of international reciprocity,' Adams said Monday.

'Not releasing the minor into the custody of his father could bring sanctions against Brazil,' he added. 'It could damage Brazil's image before the international community.'"

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