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Greece: Dad awarded €7,000 after child access human rights ruling

Judges have awarded €7000 to a dad, whose ex-wife ignored a court ruling and denied him access to his children.

Fourkiotis v. Greece (no. 74758/11)

The applicant, Sotiris Fourkiotis, is a Greek national who was born in 1970 and lives in Piraeus (Greece).

The case concerned the difficulty, followed by the impossibility, for a father of two children, who had been judicially separated from the mother, to have contact with his children despite a court decision granting him access rights.

In July 2001, Fourkiotis married Ms I.P. They had twins who were born in December 2006. However, their relationship deteriorated. Fourkiotis alleges that this was because of his wife’s membership of a religious sect and the close relationship she had developed with one of the leaders of the sect.

On 25 January 2010, I.P. applied to the courts, among other things, for custody of the children, an order that Fourkiotis leave the marital home and maintenance payments.

In a decision of 9 June 2010, the court ordered Fourkiotis to leave the marital home and to pay I.P. and the children maintenance. It also determined a schedule of access rights in respect of the children.

On 11 October 2010, I.P. applied to the courts for an order prohibiting contact between Fourkiotis and his children. Fourkiotis applied to the same court seeking custody of the children and citing, among other things, I.P.s conduct regarding his access rights.

In a decision of 14 February 2011, the court made an interim ruling awarding custody of the children to I.P. and access to ourkiotis.

The court found that Fourkiotis’s allegations that I.P. had a disturbed personality were unfounded. Fourkiotis pointed out that I.P. never complied with the court’s decision.

In March 2011, Fourkiotis contacted the Athens prosecutor responsible for cases involving minors asking him to take all necessary measures to protect the children’s interests and his relationship with them.

The prosecutor ordered a social inquiry. On 7 September 2011, Fourkiotis sent a letter to the public prosecutor at the Court of Cassation complaining of lack of action on the part of the prosecutor. He alleges that the prosecutor took no action on his letter and states that he has not seen his children again since 30 June 2011. He accuses their mother of turning them against him.

Relying in particular on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), Fourkiotis complained of the State’s failure to ensure the effective exercise of his access rights, of his inability to have the decision of the court of first instance scheduling access rights enforced, and of the lack of an effective remedy to complain of the insufficient protection of his right.

Violation of Article 8

Just satisfaction: EUR 7,000 (non-pecuniary damage)

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