AThe woman with the dark hair stands tensely in front of the district court in Pforzheim. Soon she will be sitting across from the man she once loved, with whom she had a son, Raphael, who is now eleven years old. When he was four and a half, she separated from Koen B., a Belgian with whom she had lived in Cologne.
After that, the relationship became increasingly difficult. The disputes, which were repeatedly fought in family courts, culminated in the kidnapping of the son by the father to Panama at the end of 2021. “Deprivation of minors” is the official name of the charge for which the forty-nine-year-old has to answer before the lay judge.
At the time of the arrest in Panama on February 5, Koen B. had been there with his son for almost six weeks, although he should have returned to his mother near Pforzheim on January 2. First he was in prison there, was then extradited to Germany and has been in custody ever since.
Did Koen B. want to protect his son from a corona vaccination with the trip? This assumption quickly fizzles out. The current partner of the accused, who knew nothing about the Panama plans, says that B. was skeptical about vaccines, but was not a “lateral thinker”. He himself states that he has been vaccinated twice. Rather, Koen B. sees himself as a victim of his former partner, who made sure that he was able to spend less and less time with his son.
The distance grew longer and longer as my mother moved; In the end there were 350 kilometers between Overath, where the father lived, and Mühlacker, where the son lived. In autumn 2021, a family court agreed that Raphael only had to go to his father once a month. He then brought his son to Panama “out of sheer desperation”. “I wanted to protect him, get him out, I didn’t want the argument anymore.” B. says he has now realized that kidnapping was a lousy idea.
And how is the boy? He doesn’t comment in court and generally avoids talking about his time in Panama. His mother says he no longer goes out the door alone, has nightmares and doesn’t do well at school anymore. The forensic expert diagnoses post-traumatic stress disorder and reports that Raphael wishes his father could go to prison for many years. The prosecutor pleads for three years and three months, the defense attorney for a suspended sentence. The judge and the two assessors pronounce a prison sentence of three years. The verdict is not yet legally binding.