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Author Topic: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic  (Read 36831 times)

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Offline UD_student

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2010, 12:36:24 PM »
Thanks for the update. I can't imagine how frustrating it is to keep waiting and waiting. I hope another exception is made in the case in that they weigh the evidence appropriately, grant and enforce a return order for Kali.

Offline dhanika

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #31 on: July 11, 2010, 07:18:24 PM »
Hello Everyone,

We are going into week 6 since the Judges in the Dominican Republic started deliberating on my appeal for Kali's return and no ruling yet.

On Thursday of this week (July 15th) will mark the 1 year anniversary of my petition for Kali's return.  I sent in my petition to the Office of Childrens issues on July 15th, 2009 and CONANI the Dominican Republic's Central Authority received it on July 31st, 2009.

I would like to ask for your help in keeping Kali's case alive in the minds of the Dominican Republic's governmental organizations, officials and newspapers; to let them know that Kali will not be forgotten and that their actions are being watched so long as Kali remains unlawfully in their nation.   I will be posting a list of email addresses in the next day or so to contacts in CONANI, newspapers, government officials in the Dominican Republic and the email address of the president of CONANI who also happens to be the first lady of the Dominican Republic.  I would like to ask you to send an email to these email addresses on July 15th reminding them of Kali's case and asking them why Kali has not been returned almost 1 year after they received a valid hague petition.

Offline M.Capestro

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #32 on: July 13, 2010, 07:45:00 AM »
Dhanika, when you post the contact information you mentioned above, it would be helpful if you would also please provide a summary overview of your case. It would be helpful to those of who want to help, but have limited time or understanding of what you've been through.

Offline phillyone

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #33 on: July 13, 2010, 10:36:24 AM »
Dhanika, like M. Capestro said.. please let us know who you would like us to e-mail (provide us with the e-mail address) and let us know what message you would like us to give.

I want to make sure I say the right thing to the right person to help you and Kali.

Offline sue

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #34 on: July 13, 2010, 12:53:16 PM »
Yes, please give us the information and what you would like us to say.

Offline dhanika

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #35 on: July 13, 2010, 10:40:11 PM »
Dhanika, when you post the contact information you mentioned above, it would be helpful if you would also please provide a summary overview of your case. It would be helpful to those of who want to help, but have limited time or understanding of what you've been through.

Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to give everyone summary of my case (I will try to be as brief as I can though its a long story).  Even though it is detailed on my website I think it might be best if I summarized everything as Missy Capestro suggested.

Our (Kali Soleil and me) tragic story began on December 21st of 2007 when I drove Kali Soleil (who was just 4 months old) and her mother Sandra Clarissa Zemialkowski (Rivera) to the airport for  what Sandra claimed was to be a family vacation that was to last 3 weeks.   Sandra told me that she wanted to spend Christmas with her parents and family and introduce Kali to them.  Sandra was scheduled to return with Kali Soleil on January 11th, 2008.

Shortly after Sandra and Kali Soleil arrived in the Dominican Republic around the evening of the 23rd of December I lost contact with Sandra.   All the cell phone numbers that I had for Sandra went unanswered.  For two days I was unable to reach them and was worried sick for both Kali and Sandra's safety.  I started was calling her cell phones almost every 30 minutes-1 hour over a 24 hour period.   

On December 25th, Christmas day, I was finally able to get hold of Sandra.  Sandra told me that she was busy preparing Christmas dinner for her family and that she didnt feel that she had to contact me and let me know that Kali and herself were doing okay.  She told me that the two cell phone numbers she had given me had 'technical' problems.  I was very upset and we got into an argument.

Over the next several days we tried to work out our problems.  Eventually shortly before Sandra was to return with Kali Soleil she told me that she would like to remain a few weeks more to celebrate her birthday with her friends and family.  I agreed and signed a notarized letter allowing Kali to remain in the Dominican Republic until the end of February 2008.

I told Sandra that I would travel to the Dominican Republic to visit with her and Kali for a week and return with them at the end of the visit.  I went to the Dominican Republic on February 9th, 2008 to the Dominican Republic.  On my first day in the Dominican Republic, almost 6 weeks after I had seen Kali Soleil last, I was under the impression that Kali Soleil would be spending the night with me.  At the last moment Sandra told me that I would not be able to be with Kali overnight because Sandra's mother apparently didnt approve.   Sandra though promised me that I Kali would be with me overnight the next day but again at the last minute she went back on her word.

A few days later I met with Sandra and her father.  Apparently Sandra's father had drawn up a custody agreement that he wanted me to sign which among other things gave Sandra sole custody of Kali Soleil and absolved her of any wrongdoing under the Hague Convention.  He told me that if I did not sign the agreement he knew people in the Dominican Government that would make sure I never saw my daughter again.

I managed to leave the Dominican Republic to leave the Dominican Republic without signing the custody agreement.  Sandra told me in the meantime that she planned on returning to Massachusetts in April 2008 when the 'weather got warmer'.

A couple of weeks after I returned to Massachusetts I started to realize based on my conversations with Sandra that she seemed to be manipulating me emotionally.  She seemed to be finding ways to push back or even avoid a date of return.  I finally decided that I had to chose between our relationship and Kali Soleil.  I decided to pursue sole custody of Kali Soleil after coming to the realization that I was likely never going to see my daughter again if I didnt.

Over the next year a custody trial ensued.  Sandra was ordered to return the Massachusetts for a custody hearing which she did in June 2008.  The custody trial took place on June 12th.  The ruling would not come for another 4 weeks.  During this time I would have Kali with me everyday for about 5 hours.

The temporary orders issued by the judge stated that I was to have joint custody of Kali Soleil.  Sandra however, was allowed to leave for the Dominican Republic, though she was not allowed to permanently re-locate Kali Soleil to the Dominican Republic,  as long as she obeyed the visitation schedule of 1 week visits no more than 3 months apart, with daily webcam visits and she deposited $25,000.00 with the courts.  Sandra promised the court in a sworn affidavit that she will obey the court's orders and will not attempt to seek custody in any other jurisdiction or interfere in my relationship with Kali.

Over the next several months everything seemed to go according to court orders.  I would see Kali over the webcam though there were numerous 'technical' difficulties that Sandra claimed and even times when she claimed her mother or housekeeper did not know how to operate the webcam so I would not have a webcam visit with Kali.  I visite with Kali in the Dominican Republic for her first birthday and Sandra brought Kali two times over the next few months.

In December, 2008, however it all changed.  During a visit in the Dominican Republic, Sandra denied me access to Kali on the second day of my visit.  She told me that she wanted to tell me something and I initially agreed to hear what she had to say.  However, as soon as she started talking I sensed that she was going to be beliigerant and she started using profanities so I told her that I did not want to hear what she had to say.  As I walked away from her she followed me and the struck me across the face.  I attempted to block the second blow and walked away from her.  I later learned from hotel security that she had attempted to bribe the valet to ask him to say that I had assaulted her.

I took the next flight back the following morning after speaking with my Dominican Attorney.  Apparently Sandra had filed a domestic violence complaint with the authorities.   My Attorney advised me to leave the country as soon as possible.

When I arrived back in Massachusetts I filed a contempt of court complaint against Sandra.  By this time she had suspended all webcam visits and failed to show up for a required visit.  She claimed in the court hearing that she had a medical condition that prevented her from coming for the scheduled visit in January, 2009.   The judge awarded me about $5600 from the bond for legal fees incurred and ordered Sandra to bring Kali as soon as possible to Massachusetts and immediately resume webcam visits.

I saw Kali next in person around February 19th, 2009 through February 26th, 2009.  This was the last time I would see Kali in person.  Sandra failed to bring Kali Soleil for a scheduled and required visit in April 2009 at which time the judge ordered an immediate trial.  The judge ruled shortly afterwards that I was to have sole legal and physical custody of Kali Soleil and ordered Sandra to return Kali Soleil to Massachusetts by 4 PM on April 13, 2009.  I was also awarded the remaining $19,000 from the bond to pay for my legal fees.

Sandra failed to return her and through her lawyer stated that she no longer recognized the jurisdiction of the courts in MA and would not be returning Kali to her home.

I subsequently filed for Kali's return with OCI on July 15th, 2009.  CONANI, the Domincian Republic's CA received my application on July 31st, 2009.  I was informed within a few weeks that CONANI through its representative Cristian Maldonado had rejected my petition.  His reasons for rejecting my petition were completely incompetent, in fact he re-interpreted Article 16.    After 8 months, and a formal objection by OCI, I was finally awarded a court date in March 2010.  By this time I had not seen Kali for over a year.

In the inital court case the Judge rejected my petition.  She seemed to have ignored all the evidence that we submitted.  Additionally, and equally as troubling, CONANI / Cristian Maldonado actively opposed my petition before the judge.  This is in direct violation of Domincian Law which requires CONANI to support my case (and in direct violation of their obligations under the Hague Convention).

After the ruling I subsequently filed an appeal against the original ruling which brings us to today.  Almost 1 year and 5 months since I saw Kali last, and 1 year since I filed my petition.  The Hague Convention requires abducted children be returned within 6 weeks of receiving a valid petition!

I will post the email addresses of Dominican Government officials and contacts in my next post.  I hope that your emails to them will drive home the fact that Kali's case is being watched by a lot of people. 

This is especially important as on Friday, July 16th, there is going to be an important meeting with Judges from the Dominican Republic, officials from CONANI, officials from OCI and representavies from the Permanent Committee of the Hague Convention.  The aim of that meeting is to educate Dominican Officials on the hague convention.

Offline tweinstein

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #36 on: July 14, 2010, 08:37:40 AM »
This is especially important as on Friday, July 16th, there is going to be an important meeting with Judges from the Dominican Republic, officials from CONANI, officials from OCI and representavies from the Permanent Committee of the Hague Convention.  The aim of that meeting is to educate Dominican Officials on the hague convention.
Let's hope that the Dominican Republic officials learn the lessons better than Brazil's. The OCI, along with the Central Authorities from many other countries, held similar meetings in Brazil in December, 2006!

Offline SageDad

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #37 on: July 14, 2010, 09:10:59 AM »
They've been doing Judicial training seminars in Mexico with Judge's, DIF (Child and Family Services), law enforcement and the MCA every year for the past eight years..  
“What you seek is seeking you.”
― Rumi

Offline sue

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #38 on: July 14, 2010, 04:55:32 PM »
They've been doing Judicial training seminars in Mexico with Judge's, DIF (Child and Family Services), law enforcement and the MCA every year for the past eight years..  

You changed your profile name!  I didn't know you could do that.  I would like to change mine to Sue, my first name.....how do you do it?

Offline SageDad

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #39 on: July 14, 2010, 06:10:13 PM »
They've been doing Judicial training seminars in Mexico with Judge's, DIF (Child and Family Services), law enforcement and the MCA every year for the past eight years..  

You changed your profile name!  I didn't know you could do that.  I would like to change mine to Sue, my first name.....how do you do it?

It's in "PROFILE" -> "Account Related Settings"  :)
“What you seek is seeking you.”
― Rumi

Offline sue

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #40 on: July 14, 2010, 06:41:30 PM »
Thank you!

Offline dhanika

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #41 on: July 14, 2010, 08:46:10 PM »
Hello Everyone,

I just learned that Senator John Kerry has recently met with President Leonel Fernandez, the elected leader of the Dominican Republic.  Below is the email that I sent to his representative and a representative of Rep. John Olver's office, my representative in congress; the Dominican Republic's first lady and several members of the Dominican Republic's government were also copied.  As the 1 year mark of my petition for Kali's return is about to occur, on July 15th, 2010, this email embodies the message I would like to send:

Quote
Hello Gentlemen,

I am drawing your attention to tomorrow, Thursday July 15th, 2010.  This is the
1 year anniversary of my petition under the Hague Convention on the Civil
Aspects of International Child Abduction for the return of my daughter Kali
Soleil Athukorala, a United States Citizen born in Northampton,
Massachusetts, who is currently being unlawfully retained in the Dominican
Republic.   As you may be aware both the United States and the Dominican
Republic are members of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction which REQUIRES the return of abducted children
within SIX weeks of receiving a valid petition.

It has now been almost a year since I filed my petition and almost 1 year since
the Dominican Government received my petition for the return of my daughter.   
Over this year, the Dominican Republic's designated Central Authority, the
institution designated by the Dominican Government to enforce and implement the
Hague Convention, represented by Cristian Maldonado and Aly Pena have actively
participated in obstructing and interfering with the proper execution of the
Hague Convention.  Mr. Cristian Maldonado's incompetent interpretations of the
Hague Convention have amounted to nothing short of a slap in the face to an
International Treaty aimed at protecting children from the harmful effects of
child abduction.  CONANI and Cristian Maldonado have not provided me nor the
United States Department of State any valid rationale to reject my petition as
invalid, yet they have acted in judicial proceedings contrary to their
obligations under Article 7 of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction.

I would also like to point out the Senator Kerry that the Dominican Government
has been less than helpful to me in my effort to return my daugher to her home
in Massachusetts.  Under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction, Article 7, the designated central authority, in
this case CONANI is required to do everything in its power to return Kali Soleil
Athukorala to her home including providing me with legal assistance.  I can tell
you that they have provided no help nor legal assistance to me even when I asked
for their help through the Hague Convention.

Senator Kerry recently met with President Leonel Fernandez, the elected leader
of the Dominican Republic.   I hope that Senator Kerry raises issue of the
unlawful retention of a United States Citizen and a resident of the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts with Preseident Leonel Fernandez.  As one of the constituents
that Senator Kerry has been elected to serve I want Senator Kerry to ask
President Fernandez why Kali Soleil Athukorala remains unlawfully retained in
the Dominican Republic and why the Dominican Republic's own institution
designated with enforcing the Hague Convention has interfered and obstructed
it's enforcement.   Senator Kerry needs to ask President Leonel Fernandez
whether the Dominican Republic intends to become a haven for Parental Child
Abductors.

Offline dhanika

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #42 on: July 15, 2010, 05:00:17 AM »
Here is a list of email addresses that I have compiled:

Members of the Dominican Republic's senate: r.pared@senado.gov.do; f.vargas@senado.gov.do; f.dominguez@senado.gov.do; j.vasquez@senado.gov.do; p.pujals@senado.gov.do;

Contacts in CONANI: conani@conani.gov.do; cristian.maldonado@conani.gov.do; aly.pena@conani.gov.do;juridica@conani.gov.do;

Contacts in Dominican Embassy in the US: embassy@us.serex.gov.do; agonzalez@us.serex.gov.do; brodriguez@us.serex.gov.do; sherasme@us.serex.gov.do; mvilchez@us.serex.gov.do;

It would be greatly appreciated if you could write an email to the President of CONANI, Kirsys Fernandez (presidencia@conani.gov.do), and copy the rest of the email addresses that I have displayed above.  I generally use the subject: "Abduction of United States citizen Kali Soleil Athukorala to Dominican Republic" in any of my correspondence.

The basic message that I am trying to send:

  • Why is Kali still unlawfully retained in the Dominican Republic 1 year after a valid petition was submitted to them?
  • Why has CONANI acted to oppose a valid petition when they are required to support it even by their own laws?
  • Honor the promises that the Dominican Government made in ascending to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and return Kali to her home.

If you would like to read a more in-depth explanation of how CONANI has mis-handled my case (and Kali may actually have been returned by now if they had done things correctly) you can read more about it on my website:  http://www.bringkalihome.net/HCCHandDominicanRepublic/tabid/78/Default.aspx

Thank you very much.  It is a far stretch, Kali's third birthday is just over two months away, on August 25th, 2010, and I have aleady missed her second birthday;  I hope I dont have to miss many more.




Offline dhanika

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #43 on: July 16, 2010, 06:55:57 AM »
President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic seems to have been visiting the politicians in Washington this week:

http://www.listindiario.com/las-mundiales/2010/7/14/150439/Presidente-Fernandez-se-reune-con-senador-estadounidense-John-Kerry

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/07/12/president-obama-president-fernandez-meet-trade-drug-trafficking-and-haiti

Seems like he has actually invited John Kerry to visit the Dominican Republic even while his government has not returned Kali to her home.  He is no doubt looking for financial assistance from the US Government.

Offline dhanika

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Re: Hague hearing in the Dominican Republic
« Reply #44 on: July 16, 2010, 03:48:15 PM »
Hello Everyone,

I have just received the bad news.  The appeals court has denied my appeal.  I dont have the full ruling yet but apparently from what my Attorney told me, they are claiming that the judgment of custody in MA was not ratified in the Dominican Republic.  This is absolutely ridiculous to say the least!  There is absolutely no requirement for ratification.

There needs to be some concrete consequence to relations with the Dominican Republic here.