Shelley Beyak of Abbotsford is shown here with her kids Mia and Liam before they were illegally taken to Lebanon by their father in spring 2018.

Shelley Beyak of Abbotsford is shown here with her kids Mia and Liam before they were illegally taken to Lebanon by their father in spring 2018.

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

An Abbotsford mom whose kids were abducted to Beirut, Lebanon by their father two years ago is desperately hoping for word that they are OK following a massive explosion in the capital city this week.

Shelley Beyak said she has been emailing, texting and calling her estranged husband, Wissam Tarabichi, begging for word that her children – Liam, 10, and Mia, 11 – are safe.

But Beyak said she is not surprised that she hasn’t heard back from Tarabichi because he has been ignoring her since her last visit to Beirut in November.

“I would do anything to talk to them,” Beyak said.

Mia and Liam have been in Lebanon since March 2018, when they were scheduled to travel on a court-approved trip to Seattle with Tarabichi – who is from Beirut – over spring break.

RELATED: Abbotsford mom fights to get back kids abducted to Lebanon by their dad

They didn’t return for the start of school at Margaret Stenersen Elementary in Abbotsford, and Beyak was notified.

It was then discovered that Tarabichi had indeed travelled to Seattle but, from there, he and the kids boarded a plane to Paris and then to Beirut, which does not recognize international parental kidnapping as a crime and where custody issues are often made by religious authorities.

The Canadian courts stripped Tarabichi of all his parents rights and a warrant for his arrest remains in effect, but it can only be executed if he leaves Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Beyak has launched an extensive – and expensive – legal battle to get her kids back, including hiring a lawyer in Lebanon, contacting politicians, and urging the Canadian government to help her in her battle to bring them home.

Beyak has also made visits to Beirut, where she was able to see Mia and Liam in person in early and late 2019, after which Tarabichi ignored all attempts by Beyak to reach him for further contact with the kids.

RELATED: Abbotsford mom travels to Beirut to visit abducted kids

RELATED: Abbotsford mom calls on PM to help bring home kids abducted to Lebanon

At that time, Beyak was becoming increasingly concerned about the kids’ safety, due to a series of violent civil protests that began in mid-October, launching a political and economic crisis, including the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

The crisis has been further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the two situations resulting in Lebanon’s currency plummeting, soaring food prices, massive layoffs and widespread poverty.

Beyak said a court date had been set for March of this year in Lebanon to determine custody of the kids, and she had been “cautiously optimistic” about how it would proceed.

But the courts were shut down during the protests and continue to remain closed due to the pandemic, and Beyak has no idea when her case can proceed or when she will be able to see Liam and Mia again.

She was further distressed this week after hearing that a massive explosion had taken place at a warehouse in Beirut that was storing 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate – used as a fertilizer in agriculture and an explosive.

RELATED: Huge explosions rock Beirut with widespread damage, injuries

As of Wednesday morning, news reports indicate that at least 135 people had died in the explosion, more than 4,000 people were injured and 300,000 people had suffered damage to their homes.

Beyak said that if the kids are OK, she would like just one message from Tarabichi to confirm that.

“I think Mia and Liam would at least like to talk to their mom … I imagine they feel alone,” she said.



vhopes@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

abbotsfordLebanon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Shelley Beyak is shown here with her son Liam and daughter Mia in Abbotsford. The kids were abducted to Lebanon by their father in 2018.

Shelley Beyak is shown here with her son Liam and daughter Mia in Abbotsford. The kids were abducted to Lebanon by their father in 2018.

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

(Photo submitted)
Ermineskin citizen graduates vet school, is part of busy practice

Dr. Justin Hodgson is rolling up his sleeves in Meadow Lake, Sask.

Shaela Dansereau/Pipestone Flyer
Wetaskiwin City services impacted by new public health measures

Public centers and availability to public impacted by the new public health measures.

Wetaskiwin Composite High School. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools prepare for transition back to online learning

Grades 7-12 will are mandated to transfer to online learning starting Nov. 30, 2020.

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

A person enters a building as snow falls in Ottawa, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. Ottawa has been successful in limiting the spread of COVID-19 during its second wave thanks to the city’s residents who have been wearing masks and staying home, said Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
People to thank for Ottawa’s success with curbing COVID-19: health officer

The city’s chief medical officer said much of the credit goes to the people who live in Ottawa

Ridge Meadows RCMP are developing a new strategic plan for the detachment. (Phil McLachlan)
UPDATED: Male wanted for Montana First Nation shooting arrested

Darcy Cattleman located in Conklin, Alta.

The Red Deer Games Foundation has made changes to its grant program as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo supplied)
Red Deer Games Foundation adjusts grant program due to COVID-19 pandemic

The foundation postponed the spring 2020 grant program due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

skip2
Rimbey Christian School students experience the joy of giving

Grades three and four students raised $2,000 for Somalian children

Most Read