A British mother who lost her appeal last week to win custody of her children from her ex-husband in Vienna has pledged she will take the case to the Austrian Supreme Court and, if necessary, the European Court of Human Rights.
In the meantime, she has launched an online campaign encouraging members of the UK Jewish community to write to the Austrian ambassador in support of her case.
Beth Alexander lost her first court battle in August in Vienna, when full custody of her four-year-old twin sons, Samuel and Benjamin, was granted to her Austrian ex-husband Michael Schlesinger.
Last Wednesday, she learned her appeal to overturn the decision had been rejected.
Ms Alexander told the JC this week: “The court’s decision shows so many irregularities. Everyone who read it was shocked.
“The only argument they used is that the children have been with their father for so long now and they don’t want to uproot them. But they were taken on the fabrication that the mother was mentally ill, which has been disproven.”
The Manchester-born teacher has been locked in a legal battle against Mr Schlesinger since they separated in 2011.
Ms Alexander said she believed that there were irregularities about the first court hearing that she hoped the appeal court would acknowledge.
“I really hoped and believed that, in the second instance, the court would see and correct the injustices, which hasn’t happened.”
She said her last option inside Austria is to take the case to the Supreme Court, which she hoped would be more “objective and fair”.
If she is unsuccessful, she will then go to the European Court of Human Rights. She said: “I’ve heard they have a backlog of 5,000 cases — it can go on for years. I just hope my children don’t have to suffer that long because they’re so young and vulnerable.”
She added: “What sickens me most is how the courts talk about ‘what is in the children’s interest’. No one gives a damn about the children’s interest — if they did, this never would have gone so far.
“The boys are four-years-old and they’re still not speaking.
“My main argument will be that there hasn’t been any assessment of the father or the children.”