MAY 22, GUATEMALA CITY – Irina Bitkova, mother of Vladimir, today condemned the efforts by the Procuraduría General de la Nación –PGN (Office of the Attorney General) to overturn an earlier ruling by Court of Appeals, which entrusted her son to the care of his legal guardians, and have the three-year old Vladimir, a son of Russian citizens, returned to an orphanage.
Commenting on the May 19 decision by Guatemala’s Supreme Court to consider a request by the PGN to return Vladimir to an orphanage, Irina Bitkova said: “the PGN is engaged in a gross violation of my son’s and my family’s human rights that is tantamount to torture. Despite a conclusive DNA test that Vladimir is my and my husband’s son as well as evidence that he is well cared for by his legal guardians, the Office of the Public Prosecutor is trying to suggest otherwise. It is doing everything possible to hurt our family by kidnapping our little boy. I am certain that some parts of the Guatemalan government are colluding with the Russian authorities to place pressure on my husband and me and force us to return to Russia. To achieve their aims, they are prepared to inflict unimaginable cruelty on a three-year old child. My husband and I will fight all the way to uphold our rights and to expose the illegal actions of those involved.”
Note to editors:
After the arrest of his parents on January 15 on charges related to possession of illegal passports and identity documents, Judge Marjorie Rene Azpuru Villela ruled that Vladimir should live with his legal guardians, Rolando Alvarado, a family friend and Veronica Gonzalez, his nanny. On February 10, Judge Maria Belen Reyna Salazar ruled that Vladimir should be sent to the “Amor del niño” orphanage in Guatemala City and that he should have no contact with his family and legal guardians. He spent 42 days there before Judge Salazar’s decision was overturned and he returned to his legal guardians. He left the orphanage in poor physical condition and with signs of psychological trauma. He is currently receiving specialist counseling.
Igor and Irina Bitkov and their daughter Anastasia remain in pre-trial detention.
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