‘I’m not horrible’, says dad in abduction case

Usama Al Barwani
Usama Al Barwani
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The Omani father who abducted his children from their Portsmouth home has refused to give any commitment to return them.

Usama Al-Barwani took his daughter Aisha, eight, and son Faris, five, last summer and has failed to return them despite a High Court order.

The children’s mother Lacey Plato has appealed directly to Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene and put pressure on the Omani government to secure the release of the children, who are British citizens.

But speaking from his home in the Omani capital Muscat, Mr Al-Barwani told The News: ‘From day one I have said that she can come here to see the children and that she can live here.

‘This is between me and Lacey and no-one else and we will solve it as adults.

‘She is saying I am a horrible person, acting like a terrorist and that is not true. I am a peaceful person. I come from a respectable family.

‘But I forgive her and she can contact the children.’

Mr Al-Barwani had been Lacey’s partner for six years and they lived together in Dubai. But when the relationship broke up she returned to England with the children.

Asked whether he would agree for Aisha and Faris to be returned to England, he said: ‘I have no comment. It is a matter between me and her.’

The High Court has ordered that the children be released and that Mr Al-Barwani be held for abduction.

But Interpol has no power to arrest him in Oman, which is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on international child abduction.

Lacey says she believes that only intense political pressure can secure the return of her children.

She also wants the UK government to demand answers from the Omani embassy in London about the circumstances in which the children were taken out of the country.

She says that, during a visit to them, her former partner took Aisha and Faris to the embassy and said that the children’s passports were lost.

The family say he was issued with emergency travel documents which enabled him to take the children out of the country. They have now been in Oman for more than a year despite the High Court order that they be returned to their mother.

Lacey, who speaks to Aisha and Faris on Skype, said: ‘They just want to come home. That’s all they ever say.’