Finnish Father Loses Russian Child Custody Appeal

PETROZAVODSK, January 25 (RIA Novosti) – The Supreme Court of Russia’s northwestern Republic of Karelia upheld on Friday a lower court verdict denying Sergei Timonen, a Finnish resident, custody over his children who have Russian citizenship.

Timonen took with him six-year-old twins Artyom Karelin and his sister Sofia, who are Russian citizens, to Finland in November 2012 after obtaining permission from their mother Svetlana Karelina, from whom he is divorced.

The children, who were in Finland on a two-month tourist visa, did not return to Russia in time. Timonen later said the children were staying at his home.

In a custody row that followed, a district court in Karelia ruled the children should live in Russia with their mother.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said media reports that the children were taken away from their parents by the Finnish authorities had proved untrue.

There have been over 50 instances in the past few years of the Finnish authorities intervening in disputes between Russian-Finnish families by taking children away from their Russian mothers, Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman claimed in his Twitter microblog.


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