Russian mother in international child abduction case back in Finland
Rimma Salonen detained during weekend, police recommend her release
Rimma Salonen, a Russian citizen suspected of illegally her son, Anton Salonen, from his Finnish father and taking him to Russia, has been held by Finnish police in Tampere for questioning.
At noon on Monday, police said that they would recommend at an upcoming remand hearing that Mrs. Salonen should be released from custody. However, the investigation into the abduction case is to continue.
According to the Finnish News Agency STT, Anton Salonen’s mother surrendered to the police voluntarily on Friday.
Mrs. Salonen’s lawyer Heikki Lampela says that Salonen was detained in Helsinki at the harbour, from where she was taken to Tampere.
In March 2008 Rimma Salonen travelled to Russia with five-year-old Anton. The trip was supposed to be for a holiday, but she never returned.
Over a year later, in May this year, Anton’s father Paavo Salonen smuggled his son back to Finland with the help of an employee of the Finnish Consulate General in St. Petersburg.
Paavo Salonen has also been questioned on suspicion of child abduction and a national border violation by Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
On Monday, Tampere police recommended that Rimma Salonen not be held in custody. Her lawyer Heikki Lampela insists that his client is not a flight risk. Paavo Salonen said during the weekend that he did not want his ex-wife to be remanded.
Ossi Kaario of the Tampere police expects that the preliminary investigation in the matter might take a few weeks. This means that the case might go to trial in the early autumn.
Finnish author and sociologist Johan Bäckman, who has publicly taken a stand on behalf of Rimma Salonen, complained on Saturday that she had been duped into coming to Finland.
Bäckman says that Mrs. Salonen had called him from Tallinn on Friday morning to say that she was going to Finland to meet her son. Bäckman says that Rimma and Paavo Salonen had agreed on the visit.
Previously in HS International Edition:
NBI to investigate smuggling of Anton Salonen into Finland (16.6.2009)
Putin denounces diplomat for helping smuggle Anton out of Russia (4.6.2009)
Child abduction case prompts ministerial-level altercation between Finland and Russia (18.5.2009)
Finland replies to Russia’s diplomatic note over Anton custody dispute (29.5.2009)
Anton Salonen´s mother does not dare to return to Finland (22.5.2009)