Spain custody battle sends mother Juana Rivas into hiding

Symbol copyright EPA Symbol caption This picture of Juana Rivas was taken at an unknown location and released on 15 August

In Spain, the slogan “Juana is in my house” has long past viral.

you notice it on social media and headlining weblog posts. It has additionally been revealed on posters in store windows and demonstrators have been chanting it within the street.

Juana Rivas, the subject of that expression of team spirit, has grow to be a cause celebre. But her whereabouts have been unknown for more than 3 weeks.

She was presupposed to hand over her two youngsters, elderly three and 11, to their Italian father, Francesco Arcuri, in Granada on 26 July.

That followed a courtroom order giving him custody of the men, after Ms Rivas had taken them back to Spain from Italy remaining year with out his consent.

Image copyright AFP Symbol caption Juana Rivas failed to turn up to the courtroom hearing on 8 August, however the children’s father Francesco Arcuri did

Ms Rivas and the youngsters didn’t turn up for the handover and she or he then did not seem for a courtroom summons on EIGHT August.

The judge ordered her arrest and he or she could face a prison sentence of as much as four years for abduction. She has no longer been noticed in public since the July handover date.

Fight against gender violence

Ms Rivas has said that in their relationship Mr Arcuri abused her bodily and psychologically and mistreated their older son, pointing to a 3-month jail sentence her former partner received for domestic abuse 8 years in the past.

“a girl working away from terror to give protection to her children can’t be deemed abduction,” stated a letter by means of Ms Rivas, learn out at a demonstration to give a boost to her in Granada on Monday. It added that “an abuser by no means offers you permission to leave”.

Spain’s feminine bodyguards who offer protection to abused women Spanish deal on violence in opposition to ladies

Campaigners have made Ms Rivas a logo of Spain’s struggle towards gender violence, which sees a standard of 60 ladies killed each year via their companions or ex-companions.

However Francesco Arcuri insists he’s the sufferer of a media frenzy that has distorted their relationship, solid him as the villain and disadvantaged him of seeing his kids.

How courting became sour

The couple met in 2004 in London the place, according to Spanish media, a 23-year-antique Ms Rivas was once finding out English and Mr Arcuri, who used to be 38, used to be handling a restaurant.

Image copyright Getty Pictures Image caption Juana Rivas took her kids back to Spain in Would Possibly 2016 from the circle of relatives house in Sardinia

She had their first child in Spain in 2006, however three years later Mr Arcuri used to be discovered responsible of beating Ms Rivas many times after she lower back to their house in the early hours one morning.

Mr Arcuri now denies having dedicated any abuse, insisting he most effective pleaded in charge in order to avoid a lengthy criminal fight and to be able to look his son. His responsible plea additionally meant he did not go to prison, as sentences of under two years in Spain do not regularly result in jail.

Symbol copyright AFP Image caption While Ms Rivas has attracted widespread toughen, Francesco Arcuri has additionally attracted protests in favour of joint custody

The couple subsequently reunited and moved to the small Sardinian island of San Pietro, where they ran a bed and breakfast. they had a second son, but their courting fell aside again.

Ms Rivas has defined herself as being trapped within the Italian nation-state, living in worry of an abusive partner. In Might 2016, she took the youngsters back to Spain and their father has not observed them because. She then filed any other family abuse claim.

‘i am no longer the terrorist’

As well as sparking several demonstrations calling for Ms Rivas to be given sole custody of her youngsters, the case has observed the highest quality of the southern region of Andalucía, Susana Díaz, get involved by means of providing prison improve to her.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy additionally perceived to take her facet. “One has to take into consideration what has came about,” he informed journalists. “She needed to visit Italy, had to go back, she has been attacked two times, her husband has been convicted via the courts.”

But Mr Arcuri, who claims his ex-partner was constantly out partying in San Pietro and leaving him to do such a lot of the parental duties, says Spanish public opinion has unjustly turned in opposition to him.

A Swiss lady, identified as S.M, who was Mr Arcuri’s spouse for 10 years, has said she does “not consider for one 2nd that he has mistreated his wife and kids”.

Mr Arcuri has informed Spanish media: “i’m now not the terrorist who is being mentioned.”

“i am a father with two judicial rulings in his favour, who for greater than a 12 months has no longer noticed his youngsters who were illegally abducted.”

Domestic violence: Useful contacts

In UNITED KINGDOM: Domestic violence helpline – 0808 2000 247 Women’s help In Spain: 24-hour household violence helpline 016 e mail address: 24-hour helpline for mistreated ladies – (0034) 900 19 10 10

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