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A little known international treaty on child abduction has forced the return of a 3-year-old girl to her Italian father, even though both the girl and her mother are American citizens and the father has been accused of being a wife-beater, The Chicago Sun-Times reports. On Tuesday, actress Deirdre Harrison and her young daughter, Beatrice Tabacchi, boarded a plane to Italy as demanded by an Italian court and as ordered earlier this year by U.S. District Court Judge Joan Gottshall. According to the newspaper, it was the first-ever Hague petition filed in Illinois, and the case sheds new light on the perils an American woman can undertake when she marries, then, divorces, a foreign man. In short, the foreign parent’s home rules can apply in such hearings. And, in this case, it’s the mother who was accused of an illegal abduction after a tumultuous marriage and ugly divorce from Gian Andrea Tabacchi. As for the allegations of spousal abuse, they are largely irrelevant in Hague treaty hearings, Harrison’s attorney, Alyssa Mogul, told the Sun-Times. “I know this sounds xenophobic,” Harrison is quoted as saying, “but don’t marry a foreigner and, for God’s sake don’t live there.” Harrison and Tabacchi, a composer who was attending the Manhattan School of Music to obtain a doctor’s degree, met four years ago at a party thrown by New Yorker Isabella Rossellini. The American wife married the Italian and agreed to live on the man’s country estate 15 miles outside Rome. The accounts vary as to what happened next, the newspaper says. Harrison accused Tabacchi of beating her. Tabacchi said the couple often had violent arguments in which both sides flailed away. When reached by telephone in Rome, Tabacchi told the Sun-Times: “It is quite important that people become aware of this law, this Hague convention about international child abduction, because … minor children shouldn’t be used directly or indirectly when marriages break down.” Although Harrison is returning to Italy, she vowed to ask an Italian court for custody of Beatrice and for permission to raise her in the United States.

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