United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Allison Maxim, MAXIM LAW, PLLC, for petitioner.
Johnsen, NANCY ZALUSKY BERG, LLC, for respondent.
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Patrick J. Schiltz United States District Judge.
an action under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction (“the Hague
Convention”) and the International Child Abduction
Remedies Act, 22 U.S.C. § 9001 et seq. Petitioner Adis
Marsha Amdamaskal (“Adis”) seeks the return of
his children, M. and L., claiming that their mother,
respondent Selamawit Marsha Amdamaskal
(“Selamawit”), wrongfully removed them to the
United States from Israel. Selamawit raises the affirmative
defenses that (1) Adis commenced this action more than one
year after the removal and the children are settled in the
United States, and (2) the children would be at grave risk of
harm if they were returned to Israel.
Court held evidentiary hearings in this matter on April 2 and
April 25, 2018. Adis participated in the hearings via video
teleconference, as he was unable to obtain a visa to travel
to the United States. Based on the following findings of fact
and conclusions of law, the Court holds that the children are
settled in the United States and denies Adis's petition
for their return.
FINDINGS OF FACT
immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia in 1991. Resp't Ex.
101 ¶ 6.
and Selamawit were married in Ethiopia in 2002. This was
Adis's second marriage. After the marriage, Selamawit
immigrated to Israel. Resp't Ex. 101 ¶ 6; Pet'r
Ex. 16 ¶ 6.
was born in 2006 while Adis and Selamawit were traveling in
the United States. The family returned to Israel when M. was
six months old. Resp't Ex. 101 ¶ 6.
was born in Israel in 2011. Resp't Ex. 101 ¶ 6.
March 2013, Adis was convicted of assaulting Selamawit and
one of the children. The written record describes Adis as
pinching or scratching the child and pouring water on
Selamawit. Adis was sentenced to a conditional sentence of
six months, with the condition being that he not be convicted
of additional assaults. Pet'r Ex. 18.
Around the time of these convictions, Selamawit initiated
divorce proceedings in Israel. Pet'r Ex. 16; Resp't
Ex. 118. After mediation, however, Selamawit decided to
reconcile with Adis for the children's sake.
Selamawit alleges that Adis regularly verbally and physically
abused her during their marriage. She describes grave forms
of abuse, including rape and death threats. Resp't Ex.
118. There is also evidence that Adis committed some type of
abuse against his first wife. Selamawit testified that she
brought her children to the United States to protect them
The Children's Removal to the United States
Adis's knowledge and permission, Selamawit and the
children left Israel in January 2016 to visit family in
Ethiopia. They were supposed to return to Israel on February
4, 2016, but instead Selamawit brought the children to the
United States. Resp't Ex. 111 ¶ 10. Selamawit did so
without the knowledge or permission of Adis.
few days after Selamawit traveled to the United States,
Adis's sister contacted one of Selamawit's sisters in
Ethiopia. Selamawit's sister informed Adis's sister
that Selamawit had left for the United States. Resp't Ex.
testified that Selamawit's family thought that Selamawit
had returned to Israel and that they did not tell him that
she had departed for the United States. Documents in the
record, however, make it clear that Adis knew almost
immediately that Selamawit and the children were in the
United States. Pet'r Ex. 11 (February 7, 2016 letter from
Israeli Ministry of Justice following up on a conversation
with Adis and enclosing forms “required by the
authorities in the US”); Resp't Ex. 139 at 5 (March
2, 2016 email from Adis's counsel stating that Selamawit
and the children are in “Washington, Minnesota”).
The Court therefore credits the written statement of
Selamawit's sister, who avers that she told Adis's
sister that Selamawit went to the United States.
February 4, 2016-the same day that Selamawit and the children
were supposed to return to Israel-Adis filed a complaint with
the Israeli police concerning his missing wife and children.
Pet'r Ex. 10. Ten days later, on February 14, 2016, Adis,
through counsel, sent a letter and supporting materials to
the Israeli Ministry of Justice entitled “Re:
Application to Institute Proceedings Under The Hague
Convention- Abduction of Minors.” Resp't Ex. 104.
Adis submitted these materials in accordance ...