Saturday, May 21

Testimony. “I tried everything”: this French dad fights tirelessly to find his daughter in Algeria

Dozens of legal actions, several convictions of his ex-wife, a wanted notice from Interpol… in vain. Cédric Shaurli, a 37-year-old Frenchman, has put his life on hold for 5 years to find his daughter, detained in Algeria by her mother.

This former journalist saw his little Meriem for the last time on January 14, 2017. She was a year and a half old.

He has since stopped working and spends several months a year in Algeria in the hope of getting his child back.

His “nightmare” began in December 2015: “We were on vacation in Algiers, and the day before our return to France, while I was taking a shower, my wife fled with our daughter”, says the young dad.

The mother moved… to the Sahara

Three weeks later, she filed for divorce in Algeria, accusing her husband of “disbelief” and “turning (their) child away from Islam”, confides the father from Auch, in the Gers. Justice grants Cédric Shaurli a right to visit for a few hours a week, “which takes place in an atmosphere of threats and humiliation in the house of my ex-mother-in-law”. Then, the Frenchman quickly comes up against refusals to exercise his visiting rights and finally, in January 2017, his ex-wife informed him, by way of a bailiff, that she was moving. Where ? In the Sahara… “The address she gave does not exist,” laments the 30-year-old.

200 shares in five years

“Around twenty reports of non-presentation of children have been drawn up, around fifty reports, complaints or requests for intervention have been filed with the public prosecutor’s office and the Ministry of Justice in Algeria. In total, I carried out nearly 200 actions in five years to assert my rights… in vain”, he laments. In France, his ex-wife was sentenced in 2018 to 15 months in prison for child abduction. In Algeria, she is also found guilty for non-presentation of a child, as well as forgery and use of forgery for the address communicated to the father for his right of access.

Carried from place to place, hidden and unschooled

However, “being French, opposed to an Algerian from an influential family, I weigh nothing at all”, blows the father, according to whom the Algerian authorities do not implement all the necessary means to locate his ex-wife and his daughter, wanted by Interpol.

Cédric Shaurli turned to the UN. He sent a complaint in October 2019. If it is deemed admissible on the form, the father hopes that the human rights committee will order Algeria to find the girl, today “carried around from one place to the other, hidden and not educated”, he denounces.

The Algerian embassy in France and the consulate in Toulouse could not be reached.

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