Family with autistic boy flee Netherlands, seek asylum in Poland

The parents of 7-year-old Martin, who suffers from autism and was taken away from his family due to alleged abuse cases reported by neighbours, fled the Netherlands to Poland with their son. As a consequence, the Dutch authorities issued a European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

Attorney Bartosz Lewandowski, one of the family's plenipotentiaries, said that the Polish police are currently looking for the parents and are demanding information about their whereabouts. The parents declare that they will voluntarily appear in the prosecutor's office.

The world heard about the case of Martin in February 2018, when the boy was taken from his parents by Dutch social services in the middle of the night. He was born into an Australian-Russian family that had lived in the Netherlands for several years, where the boy was diagnosed with severe autism.

“The reason was the alleged negligence on the part of the parents formulated by the neighbours,” said Mr Lewandowski, adding that the Dutch authorities apparently underestimated the 7-year-old boy’s developmental disorders.

For the first 13 months after the boy was taken away, the parents had limited opportunities to see their son. During the meetings, the boy informed them that he wanted to escape.

Then, Conrad and Katya den Hertog decided to leave all their property in the Netherlands, take their son without notifying the authorities and flee to Poland in order to provide him with rehabilitation and therapy, which was not provided by the Dutch authorities.

“This is another case in which the Polish authorities are asked to provide protection to unjustly and unlawfully broken families from highly developed countries”, Mr Lewandowski said.

Last Thursday, Bartosz Lewandowski announced that a formal application for granting the family asylum in the territory of Poland had been submitted.

He added that he was counting on the support of the Ministry of Justice, as in his opinion, this case "should absolutely be settled in favour of the parents".

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