Hunger strike to get back children

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Consell de Mallorca
IMAS -


A WOMAN from Palma has gone on a hunger strike in an effort to be allowed to see her children again.

Aicha Boujnane Meziani, aged 36, has been on strike outside Mallorca’s Social Services office (IMAS) in Calle del Riera de Palma since Monday, September 29.

The woman lost custody of her three children towards the end of April, after she and her family were accused of negligence by the social services.

Social workers at IMAS have said they suspect that the children – a 12-year-old girl, a boy of nine and a toddler – could well have suffered child abuse, and that neither parent is capable of raising and caring for them.

Boujnane denies all of the charges levelled against her, and says that the situation was a mistake. She maintains that her three children were well-looked after, properly fed and clean.

She said: “They went to school every day and we have never received complaints about them from their teachers.”

Both Boujnane and her husband are unemployed, but whilst she recognises that they are struggling to stay above the breadline, she has said that no one in her family has ever been neglected due to a lack of finances.

For almost six months, Boujnane has waited for the Courts to decide if she will be able to get her offspring back or not. At the moment, she is only allowed a one-hour visit every 15 days. The three siblings have been separated and sent to different foster homes around Mallorca.

The wait for the court ruling is killing her, she says, and so she has decided to go on hunger strike as a last resort. She has stuck placards and posters onto the railings outside IMAS in Spanish, English and Arabic in an attempt to raise awareness to her plight. She speaks to passers-by, and is collecting signatures in her support.

Since Boujnane started her strike, only water has passed her lips, and she is sleeping in a tent on the street.

She concluded: “I’ll die here on the street if needs be. I am going to do whatever it takes to get my children back.”

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