A mother struggles for her children's return

Edeanna Chebbi

Friends and family of Edeanna Chebbi came to the Tunisian embassy Monday to condemn what they call criminal behavior.

Chebbi says a few weeks ago her, ex-husband, Faisal Chebbi, picked up their children for a short in-town visit. Instead, he went to the airport and flew them to Tunisia.

“It's devastating,” says Edeanna Chebbi. “My children are five and two. My daughter misses her mom.”

Chebbi says she had placed a hold on the boy and girl's U.S. passports. She also says she personally warned the Tunisian Embassy her former husband might try to abduct the children.

She says the embassy staff assured her that her ex-husband had no legal rights to the children.

But a friend of Chebbi’s, Jerry Newberry, said Tunisian Embassy “ignored all the U.S. passport regulations that had been put in place, gave them illegal passports.”

A representative of the Tunisian Embassy declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Chebbi is asking for help with her fight. She also launched a Facebook page in hopes of getting more attention.

“We try to think this will only be for a short visit,” says Nancy Regan, the children’s grandmother. “But then at night you realize he says he is never allowing them to come home.”

Even though it's been almost a month since her children were allegedly taken, Chebbi says she remains optimistic.

She says the fledgling democracy in Tunisia is counting on a great deal of support from the U.S. government. She believes this relationship eventually will prompt the Tunisians to help bring her children home.

“I know that they will be back,” she says. “Justice will work.”