Windsor

Windsor woman launches multi-million dollar lawsuit to get her children back

A Windsor woman is suing her ex-husband, members of his family and Egyptair for $10 million for their alleged roles in the abduction of two of her children in 2019.

Airline, ex-husband and his family sued for roles in abduction of two children in 2019

Khawla Khalifa holds a picture of her three children, two of whom were taken to Lebanon two years ago by Khalifa's ex-husband. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

A Windsor woman is suing her ex-husband, members of his family and Egyptair for $10 million for their alleged roles in the abduction of two of her children in 2019.

Achraf Zeidan took his two children, Dina, 6, and Fawzi, 9, to Lebanon, despite the fact he was not to leave Essex County with them. A court had granted custody to his ex-wife Khawla Khalifa.

She says she has made numerous attempts to get her children back through the court system in Lebanon to no avail. She hopes the lawsuit will put pressure on Zeidan to send the children back.

"I believe that the parents and his sisters specifically had a role in the abduction. And I think they should be held responsible for what they've done and what they continue to do," said Khalifa.

The statement of claim names Achraf Zeidan's sisters, Dania, Hoda and Nour Zeidan as well as his father Fawzi Mahmoud Zeidan and mother Khadije Ahmad Chahrour.

The lawsuit alleges they conspired with Zeidan because they knew that Zeidan had somehow procured Palestinian travel documents for the children — even though they are not Palestinian.

Palestinian travel document for Fawzi Zeidan. (Statement of Claim, Ontario Superior Court of Justice.)

The statement of claim also alleges Dania and Nour helped Achraf by holding a third child, Zein, for two days in April 2019. It adds that, after returning them to Khalifa, they told her Achraf will soon deliver the other two children. But Achraf later sent an email to Khalifa stating he had taken the children to Lebanon.

Lawyer Harvey Strosberg represents Khalifa. He said Egyptair should have made sure Achraf Zeidan had consent from Khalifa to take the children on the plane in 2019.

Picture of the Palestinian travel document for Dina Zeidan. (Statement of Claim, Ontario Superior Court of Justice)

"Egyptair has to convince themselves that the father or the mother or a stranger traveling with two minors had the consent of their other parent or both parents," said Strosberg.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

CBC News has reached out to Egyptair lawyer Sami Iskandar but has not heard back.

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