Court case - Finot Lewegen Children Orphanage Association

Date: 2000-05-12

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Federal First Instance Court

File No. 103104

Date: 12/5/2000

Judge:- Adey Negusse

Applicants: 1. Finot Lewegen Children Orphanage Association

2. Mrs. Mariya Alga Hoyes Alonso

Objecting applicant: Mrs. Azenash Miheretu

Respondents:1- Mrs. Letebirhan G/Mariam

2- Mr. Gebeyaw Wale

3- Mr. Mengistu Reda

The court has checked the file thoroughly and passed the following order.

Order

On the application instituted by the objecting applicant on January 2/2000 E.C, her children Taeme Mengistu and Tarik Mengistu were given for adoption by their father to the applicants without her consent. She claims since I can raise my kids the court should nullify the decision it passed earlier.

The objecting applicant has brought court decision declaring she is the mother.

The court has called the manager of the adoption agency who gave the children for adoption, the father of the children Mr. Mengistu and the adopters agent Mr. Gebeyaw to the bench on 9/5/2000 E.C. and asked why they put the children for adoption without the consent of the mother, and why they declared her absent when she isn’t.

Mrs. Letebirhan, manager of the association, said that she had worked in this line of work for three years. And that she found out that the mother hasn’t disappeared a day before the case was adjourned for 22/4/2000 E.C, which means she found out on 21/4/2000 E.C. And she said when she spoke with them it seemed as if they had agreed so that’s why I didn’t inform the court. For the question raised why she kept quite when the father of the children testifies the mother has disappeared, she answered it’s because she was scared. She also states she gave 150 birr to Azenash to come from Alamata to Addis Ababa.

On the other hand, Mr. Gebeyehu said that he knew that the children’s mother didn’t disappear when he was returning from court and he found her crying. She asked him to get her a photographer and he did, then she got her picture taken. He said I gave the children to their adopters because I thought both parents gave their consent. He found out the decision’s injunction when he went to get their passport, he was told that the decision of the court is injunction, then he was about to inform the court, but in the mean while the mother of the children came to the court and applied her case. Whatever the case he claims the injunction on the decision of the court has caused him inconvenience because the foreigners couldn’t take their adopted children.

Ato Mengistu claims that the applicant Mrs. Azenash left him when he got sick. But when he was asked when their divorce was finalized, he said it was after he gave the children for adoption, after 12/1/2000 E.C. When he was confronted why he didn’t tell that to the court he kept silent.

The court saw the case thoroughly.

First the court sees the issue whether the respondents are guilty or not for giving the children to the adopters without the mother’s consent, claiming she has disappeared?

The court had approved the adoption agreement made between Finot Lewegen Orphanage and Mrs. Maria Alega Hoyes to give Taeme Mengistu and Tarik Mengistu for adoption on 22/4/2000 E.C.

The ground for the courts’ approval of the adoption agreement was the fact that a written document was annexed with the application for approval that showed Mr. Mengistu is an HIV/AIDS patient and that he can’t raise the children and the mother has left the children and disappeared.

However, the evidence that is shown to the court, the divorce proceeding shows that the mother didn’t disappear and the divorce with Mr. Mengistu ended on 12/1/2000 E.C. In addition to this the mother came from Alamata on 21/4/2000 E.C., while the court had given adjournment for 22/4/2000, and she told the court on 9/1/2000 E.C that she went to Finot Lewegen Orphanage and met her children and their father in person. So for the orphanage to claim that they thought the mother disappeared is a lie, and they lied to the court.

On the other hand, the manager of Finot Lewegen Orphanage, Mrs. Letebirhan, after sending transportation money to the mother of the children to come one day prior to the court’s adjournment date, she forbid her to go to the court at the adjourned date. Then she let the father of the children to go to the court and testify that the mother of the children had disappeared, and she didn’t inform the matter to the agent Mr.Gebeyaw.

Finally, the agent of the adopting parents gave the children to the adopters even after he found out about the presence of the mother, and afterwards he didn’t notify the court about any of this. In addition they have applied to the court that a lot of inconvenience is caused on them than the mother.

From the above statement the court concluded that three of the respondents has misled and deceive the court, and they also gave false statement. And because of that the court gave decisions which interfere with the right of both the mother and the children. Therefore the court has found all three of the respondents guilty under Article 480 of the Civil Procedure Code and under Article 446 (b) and 449(b) of the criminal code.

Respondents Sentence reduction plea

Mrs. Letebirhan states that she didn’t notify the court because she had mourning on 23/4/2000 and a funeral on 24/4/2000. In addition she told the court that she had kids she looks after, so she asked the court to reduce the sentence.

Mr. Gebeyewe said he tried to inform the court at the adjourned date and that he worked in this line of work for two years and never made any mistake before ,so he asked the court to reduce the sentence.

Mr. Mengistu said he gave the children for adoption because their mother wanted to go to Arab country to work and he agreed with her idea.

Sentencing

As mentioned above three of the respondents are found guilty. And as to their plea for reduction of sentence, Mrs. Letebirhan said she was mourning, but the mourning was after the courts’ adjournment date, so the court didn’t accept the pleading. Mr. Gebeyew pleaded that he worked in this line of work for two years, but the court believes since he worked for two years he should have known better and handled things with extra care, so the court didn’t accept the plea and in the same manner Mr. Mengistu’s pleading wasn’t accepted.

The respondents should be sentenced to the maximum limitation stated under the law for their crimes.

Therefore, 1- Mrs. Letebirhan G/Mariam

2- Mr. Gebeyew Walle

3- Mr. Mengistu Reda

Each is sentenced with 6 months imprisonment. The prison administration follow up and execute the sentence.

The court tries to see whether the adoption agreement which was approved should be nullified or not?

The court approved the adoption agreement first because documents were presented to the court which shows the mother has disappeared and the father is an HIV/AIDS patient, and that he can’t raise the children. So the court thought the children would benefit from the adoption.

However, since the court reached to that conclusion because of the false evidences that were brought to it. And becase the mother is alive and well enough to raise the children and didn’t consent for the adoption, the court has nullified the decision of the court given 22/4/2000 E.C.

Order

The decision of the court is nullified, so the children should be returned to the mother. Mr. Gebeyew told the court the children are at Lion Hotel at the hand of their adopters. The police is ordered to get Taeme Mengistu and Tarik Mengistu from the hand of Mrs. Maria Alga Hoyes Alonso and brought them to the court today 12/5/2000 at 3:00 am.

Additional Order

1- Police is ordered to do further investigation on Finot Lewegen Orphanage and on the respondents. Send copy of the decision to the police.

2- Send the decision to the concerned bodies

- Police has brought the children to the court, and the children state their names as Tarik and Taeme.

- The mother of the children has received her children in court.

- The file is closed and returned to the registrar office.

Signed

12/5/2000 Judge Signature

Adey Nigusse

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