A man who claims he knows the child’s stepfather and mother, spoke out about the current situation on Sveriges Television’s (SVT) Debatt programme on Thursday.
“She [the mother] is in Algeria where she works as a teacher. I have spoken with her today,” the man said via an interpreter on the programme.
“She discussed what she would do. Her final decision was to go to France and make living arrangements. She will take in her daughter later,” the man said, adding that she had tried to visit the Swedish embassy in Algeria but had been denied.
The case of Haddile, who was abandoned by her mother just 20 days after her birth and then allegedly abused by her stepfather before being taken in by foster parents, has outraged and captivated Swedes.
A move by the Migration Board to deport the child to France resulted in a petition signed by tens of thousands of Swedes, prompting the agency on Sunday to put a temporary delay on their deportation decision as the search for her parents continued.
Thursday night’s episode of the “Debatt” SVT programme also examined questions about the girl’s safety.
The man who claimed to know Haddile’s parents waivered when responding to exactly how the girl received her injuries, stating that the damage was done when she was handed over to other people.
He also gave assurances that the girl was not in any danger now.
“I have spoken with both parents and other relatives and there is no threat,” he said.
“We spoke a little about how the foster family really wanted to keep her, but she [the mother] made it very clear that she wanted to look after her herself. She really wants to come and take her back, she has truly longed for her daughter.”
While the case is complicated from a legal perspective, there is a strong case to be made that Haddile’s strong emotional ties stemming from her relationship with her foster family means the her relationship is covered by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, explained legal scholar Jänterä-Jareborg to the TT news agency.
“Personally, I think it would be rather remarkable if they deported the girl, considering her entire existence with family has taken place in Sweden with a family that wants to adopt her,” she said on Monday.
The case has led to renewed calls to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Swedish law.
Following the broadcast, many experts and viewers criticized the programme for openly discussion an ongoing custody dispute involving a young child.
“One should consider carefully publicity that can violate the sanctity of privacy,” wrote TV4 reporter Ulf Kristofferson on his Twitter account.
The fact that the programme involved a man who said he had been in contact with the girl’s mother was not taken well by some.
“This was the most ill-advised move I’ve ever seen in public broadcasting,” said Ulf Bjereld, professor of political science, to the Aftonbladet newspaper.
Mette Friberg, Debatt’s programme editor, defended the episode’s contents.
“I can agree that custody disputes and the exposure of a little girl in this manner are distasteful. But I can’t see how we would otherwise handle this information. We’re allowing a voice that isn’t heard to be heard,” she told the paper.