Ontario dad goes to Poland to try to get boys back

The father of two boys abducted by their mom from York Region is heading to Poland to try to persuade an appeal court to return them to Canada.

Stephen Watkins wants Harper to raise issue with Polish PM in Ottawa

Stephen Watkins poses for a photo with his sons, Christopher and Alexander. Watkins is fighting an international custody battle to bring them back to Canada. (Courtesy Stephen Watkins/Canadian Press)

An Ontario man who found his missing children in Poland after a 2½-year search is heading back to the country for a court hearing that will decide their fate.

Stephen Watkins said Sunday before boarding a plane for Europe that he will be in a Warsaw court on Wednesday to seek the return to Canada of his two boys — Alexander, 10, and Christopher, 8.

The 40-year-old Newmarket, Ont., man was granted custody of the children after he split from his wife, Edyta Watkins.

She and the boys vanished in March 2009, only to emerge later in Poland, the woman's native country.

But last December, a Polish court ruled against sending the boys back to Canada. Watkins is appealing that decision.

Poland doesn't have an extradition treaty with Canada. But it is party to the Hague Convention, which is meant to expedite the process of returning abducted children.

"I am working hard not only to get my own abducted sons home, but also trying to set a precedent in the country of Poland to see many internationally abducted children returned to their home countries," Watkins said.

He has urged Prime Minister Stephen Harper to raise the issue with his Polish counterpart, Donald Tusk, when the two leaders meet in Ottawa this week.