France Seeks Arrest Of Russian Mother

25 March 2009By Natalya Krainova / The Moscow TimesA Russian woman accused of abducting her 3-year-old daughter from the girl's father in France has been placed on an international wanted list, Interpol's Russian bureau said Tuesday.

If discovered in Russia, however, authorities will not be able to arrest the suspect, Irina Belenkaya, because of specifics of Russian law concerning kidnapping, Interpol and Interior Ministry spokespeople told The Moscow Times.

Belenkaya, a Russian national, was placed on Interpol's wanted list Monday after French police issued an international warrant for her arrest, said Tatyana Trunayeva, a spokeswoman for Interpol's Russian bureau.

Jean-Michel Andre after the attack.


Elise Andre, the missing 3-year-old.

Belenkaya's ex-husband, French national Jean-Michel Andre, has filed a report with French police accusing her of abducting their daughter, Elise Andre, from his home in the French town of Arles. Elise was abducted at about noon Friday by two men who approached her father and beat him up before taking the girl away, Trunayeva said.

Acting on a request from French authorities, Russian police will search for the girl but will be unable to arrest the mother because Russian law does not allow for parents to be classified as their children's abductors, Interior Ministry spokesman Oleg Yelnikov said.

Elise was born in November 2005 in Moscow, according to Interpol's web site. In September 2008, after Belenkaya and Andre were divorced, the Frenchman, together with another man, approached Elise and her nanny on a Moscow street and took the girl away.

A French court subsequently gave him custody of his daughter, though Belenkaya has won a similar court order in Russia, Interfax reported.

Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin on Monday called for Elise's parents to undergo psychiatric evaluations, saying their actions suggested "their brains may be out of order," RIA-Novosti said.