Abduction of Eslam and

Zainab Chebbi


In November of 2011, Eslam Chebbi (then age 5) and Zainab Chebbi (then age 2) – born and raised in the state of Maryland – were illegally abducted by their father, Faical Chebbi, to his native home in Tunis, Tunisia.  In January of 2012, their mother, Édeanna Barbirou, relocated to Tunis in pursuit of her legal rights through the Tunisian judicial process of parental custody granted in U.S. courts.  Since this time, she has worked closely with the Tunisian Consul to the U.S., Tunisian Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs, and Interior (in Tunisia), the U.S. Department of State, the FBI, the U.S. consul and Ambassador to Tunisia, and Senators Cardin and Mikulski, for the right to return with Eslam and Zainab to America. In these three years Édeanna has obtained primary, Appellate and Supreme Court decisions – through the Tunisian courts – recognizing her rights of custody of both Eslam and Zainab in the United States. 


In 2013, Édeanna was able to retain custody of her daughter, Zainab, while still in Tunis.  Despite every diplomatic and political pressure imaginable, the Tunisian government has refused to uphold its constitutional duty to execute the rulings of its highest courts and return Eslam to his family.  By July of 2014, Eslam was completely isolated from his mother and sister. Without means of seeing, or even communicating with him, Zainab and Édeanna returned to the U.S. in August 2014. 


Eslam remains captive, against Tunisian law, with his father in Tunis.  Faical Chebbi is one of the FBI’s Most Wanted fugitives for the crime of Parental Child Abduction, and was recently sentenced to two months imprisonment through Tunisian criminal courts for the same crime under its domestic law.  Today, however, he remains free, the Tunisian Supreme Court orders remain unenforced, and Eslam remains isolated from even speaking to his mother and sister on the phone. 


In addition to Eslam, there are at least 6 other unresolved cases of parental child abduction to Tunisia. 


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