Russia: Israeli preschooler overstays visa - and can't go home

Four-year-old Emily overstays visa, is refused exit by Russia.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg

Yigal Mullner, the father of 4.5-year-old Emily, complained on Facebook that his daughter had been detained in Russia for overstaying her visa.

Emily, who has autism, traveled with her grandmother to Saint Petersburg in order to receive therapies. On Saturday, when she was scheduled to fly back to Israel, Russian authorities refused to allow her out of the country.

"Shabbat shalom, I'm writing this because I have no idea what to do," Mullner wrote on his Facebook page Saturday. "I'm the father of a 4.5-year-old girl who was born in and is a citizen of Israel. My daughter is on the autistic spectrum, and she traveled with her grandmother, a Russian-Israeli citizen, to receive emotional therapies abroad."

"Today when we were expecting to see our daughter, they did not allow her out of Russia, claiming that she did not have a visa, when logic would dictate the opposite - that they throw her out of Russia.

"The Israeli Embassy in Russia told us that we broke the country's federal laws, that it is our problem, and that we should hire lawyers.

"The Foreign Ministry's emergency room told us to wait until tomorrow," he continued. "All of the Embassy's lines told us that this is not an emergency situation as long as she has not been arrested. They've made a 4.5-year-old girl into a terrorist, invader, and criminal."

Israel's Foreign Ministry responded: "Today, Israel's Consulate General in Saint Petersburg received a complaint from an Israeli citizen who is in Russia, together with her granddaughter. The pair's exit from Russia was refused due to claims that the granddaughter, who has only Israeli citizenship, had stayed longer than the number of days allowed under her entry visa."

"Israel's Consulate General in Saint Petersburg spoke with the grandmother, who is in Russia together with her granddaughter in the family's home in the city. The two were not detained or arrested, and they are not in danger. Due to the fact that it seems they violated local immigration laws, the grandmother must handle things with the local immigration offices, when they return from their weekend break on Monday. The Israeli Consulate General will continue to follow the case and help the family as much as necessary."