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An Obama appointee is sending a woman and her son to the man that judge heard raped and beat his wife, along with abusing her while she was pregnant.

Narkis Golan, an American citizen, was living in Italy while married to an Italian man, when in 2018, she came to the US for a wedding.

Golan said her husband, Isaaco Saada, has been physical and sexually abusive toward her, with the abuse continuing while she was pregnant.

“I tried so long to get a divorce,” Golan said, in an exclusive interview.

In the US, she decided to stay.

On September 20, 2018, Saada filed an appeal in US District Court for the Eastern District of New York pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, according to a recent decision in the case.

Their son was two at the time of the filing.

Anthony Joseph is an attorney with the Masters Law Group and he has handled several cases involving the Hague convention.

He said the cases can be filed in either federal or state court, but he said normally lawyers have a reason to file where it is filed.

Golan said she conferred with experts at a domestic violence shelter and then got representation, pro bono, from Paul Weiss.

The case was assigned to Judge Ann Donnelly, an Obama appointee, who was confirmed to the bench on October 20, 2015.

Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction provides for safe and expeditious remedies when a child is abducted internationally.

Joseph said there are exceptions under the Hague, where a child would not be sent back.

He said if a petition is not filed quick enough that would be a reason the child would not be sent back.

According to Law.com, the Hague convention states that if the petition was not filed within one year after the abduction, the child is then referred to as well settled.

Another exception is  if the child is in danger if they are sent back to their home country.

The Hague Convention states, “there is grave risk that the child's return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation,”

Joseph said it is entirely case fact specific whether a court deems a child is at grave risk.

The Case

Golan argued her son would be in grave risk if he was sent back; In support of that case, she provided testimony, photos, text messages about a rape while she was pregnant, smashed her face, and his parents were also physically and financially abusive.

During the testimony, Golan said she developed a tumor, making the pregnancy difficult and particularly having sex.

She described how she was then sexually assaulted.

“So because of the tumor, sex was very uncomfortable and even painful and Jacky knew about that, and that Friday, before we had to go to his parents, he wanted, you know, to be intimate together, and I said, ‘Okay, just be gentle, and if it gets painful we’ll stop.’

“So, we started, and I told him, you know, it’s uncomfortable, let’s stop. Instead of stopping, he held my hand behind my back, I was on top, and he started pulling, like pushing, pushing really hard on me, and…and it hurt so bad. I just wanted, you know, to stop.”

Her husband didn’t stop, she said, instead, “He said, he’s almost finished. He’s almost finished. When I was crying and yelling, he said, ‘yes, yes, just like that. I’m almost there. I’m almost there.’”

Afterwards, Golan thought her pregnancy might be in jeopardy, but she testified Saada and his parents showed no concern.

“Like, I was just concerned, and I thought, even if did damage something. If we were able to get to the hospital as soon as possible maybe, we can save it. And he said, ‘Well, you know, it’s Friday and we have to be at my parents. We {have} the Sabbath dinner.’ And he said, ‘You know, try going and asking my parents. If they say ok, then ok.

“Then, I went up to the third floor. His mother opened the door. I told her what happened. I was very uncomfortable to speak about details. And I told her I want to go to a hospital.”

‘How much are you bleeding?” Golan quoted her mother in law in her testimony, ”Well, as long as you don’t have chunks coming out the size of lemons, you have nothing to worry about.”

She also described being beaten during an argument, “And then he reached his right hand toward me and he grabbed me by my hair really tight and he was getting angry and angry, and he started bashing my face against the dashboard.”

Golan also provided a recording to the court- along with testifying to- of her mother-in law slamming the door in her face.

Regarding her relationship with her mother in law, Golan said, “She had a lot of influence on Jacky and our marriage, and she had witnessed- not only had she told him to hit me while I was pregnant, she also watched him beat me.

Golan also provided the Caller a video of Jacky verbally abusing her in front of their son.

She also provided a photo after a beating.

Decision

Despite all that evidence, Donnelly found it would be safe for Golan’s son to return to Italy, arguing that Saada was only abusive to her, not their son, and finding little evidence either of his parents were abusive.

The grave risk of harm to B.A.S. is exposure to violence between the petitioner and the respondent. The record is clear that ‘Mr. Saada was violent—physically, psychologically, emotionally, and verbally—to Ms. Golan,’ and ‘that B.A.S. was present for much of it.’ (ECF No. 64 at 32.).” Donnelly said in her decision. “While B.A.S. was not the target of abuse himself, ‘a child who is exposed to domestic violence . . . could face a grave risk of harm.’ (Id.) That risk is greatly reduced when the parties are not together.”

Donnelly cited another case, Davies V Davies, which noted the grave risk, “inquiry is not whether repatriation would place the respondent parent’s safety at risk, but whether so doing would subject the child to a grave risk of physical or psychological harm.”

Donnelly determined that repatriating in Italy would not put the child at this risk.

Regarding his parents she noted, “I am also not persuaded by the respondent’s claims that the petitioner’s father poses a danger to B.A.S. There was no mention at trial of two of the accusations—that he “threw B.A.S. into a swimming pool without flotation devices,” and “kicked a soccer ball hard at [him].” (ECF No. 45 at 18.) In any case, even if true, neither constitutes a grave risk of harm.8 “Sporadic or isolated incidents of physical discipline directed at the child, or some limited incidents aimed at persons other than the child, even if witnessed by  the child, have not been found to constitute a grave risk." Throwing a child into pool and throwing a ball at him is discipline and doesn't pose a risk.”

Joseph broke down the decision.

“She was examining, you know, what would happen to the kid if the kid got returned and what was the kid’s relationship with the father vis a vis, would ordering the kid to return to Italy I believe what effect would that have on the kid and the court reason that a lot of the so-called abuse- at least as I ascertained from the opinion happened between mom and dad and not necessarily towards child.

“Now, again, that’s the part that sort of elicits an emotional response and I understand that, but the law says that you must examine whether returning to the you know child’s home country would endanger the child.”

Given that, Joseph was asked if the law was unfavorable toward domestic violence victims, “The question, the way you asked it, looks to examine the relationship between the two parents, whereas the court is concerned about first off with the safety, well-being, and welfare of the child, and the court examines you know the safety and well-being as it relates to being with both parents. And the court in that decision assumed mom and dad wouldn’t necessarily be living in the same residence.”

Since Narkis was the target of Saada’s rage, the child would be safe; a decision which assume that someone who beats their wife should not automatically be assumed as likely to beat their child.

On May 4, 2020, Donnelly ordered Golan to return to Italy, but she then issued a stay to that order while Golan appealed the decision.

Conclusion

Golan told the Caller she is going to the media out of desperation and against the advice of her attorneys.

An email to Dan Levi, one of the attorneys who represented her, was left unreturned.

Saada is represented by the law firm of Burger, Green, and Min. A message left with Richard Min at their New York City office was left unreturned.

Min recently filed a reply to Golan’s appeal; his reply can be found here.

A phone call to the chambers of Judge Donnelly was left unreturned.

Joseph said tracking statistics on cases like this is difficult because a petition can be filed in both state and federal court, and in some cases, opinions are not published.

Golan provided a survey she was given of cases decided in the same judicial district.

Based on those results, she faces an uphill battle.

Of one hundred twenty cases, only twenty-two were determined a grave risk and allowed to stay by the initial judge; three more were allowed to stay after an appeal.

This is Donnelly’s first case with the Hague, Golan said.

In December 2007, an Australian woman was forced to go back to England to live with her abusive ex-husband under the same Hague convention statutes; he murdered her shortly after she was forced to return, according to a 2014 Guardian story.

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