Statement from Board of Deputies Vice President Mr Jonathan Arkush MA (Oxon)

Date: Tue, Dec 10, 2013

A Board of Deputies delegation comprising Vice Presidents Alex Brummer and Jonathan Arkush, together with Public Affairs Officer Sophie Dunoff, today visited the Austrian Embassy in London where they were received by the Austrian Ambassador, HE Dr Emil Brix and Minister Plenipotentiary Christoph Weidinger.  The meeting was arranged at the request of the Board.

The Board raised concerns about the recent decision of the Vienna Regional Civil Court in the custody dispute between Beth Alexander, who comes from Manchester, and her Austrian former husband, Michael Schlesinger concerning their twin sons aged 4.  The court upheld the decision of a lower court to award custody of the children to Dr Schlesinger and limit Mrs Alexander’s access rights to 3 visits every 2 weeks.

The Ambassador assured the delegation that he would convey the concerns raised to the Austrian Government.

Jonathan Arkush said:  “Having studied the court’s judgment carefully, I am extremely concerned about its lack of reasoning to support the unusual decision to deprive a mother of the custody , or even shared custody, of her two very young children.  I fear that a serious miscarriage of justice has occurred and that the decision is a stain on the reputation of Austria.”

Alex Brummer said:  “We were received with great courtesy by the Ambassador and Minister, who listened carefully to all the matters we raised and commented positively on them.”

Distributed on behalf of the Board of Deputies by Ben Rich



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