Saren Azer, also known as Salahaddin Mahmudi-Azer, is being sought by police after he failed to return his four children home to his ex-wife on Vancouver Island in western Canada. Azer had been travelling with the children in Germany. He had legal permission to do so, but was bound by a custody order to bring them back on August 21.
Custody issues are argued in court after a couple divorces and it is a criminal offence to disobey the the judge’s ensuing order. No parent can take a child under the age of 18 out of Canada without written permission from the other parent. This rule is enforced expressly to prevent abductions.
‘I’m living a nightmare’
The children are two girls aged nine and 11, and two sons, three and seven years old. The mother, Alison Azer, says she last heard from them 12 days ago.
“I’m living a nightmare,” she said. “I just felt something in their voices. It didn’t sound right. I asked them to call me and I have never heard from them again.”
Alison Azer’s worst fear is that her ex-husband may have taken the children to northern Iraq. He is Kurdish and has strong connections to the region and has been travelling there for the last eight years.