French woman convicted of abducting children from Canada freed

PARIS: A French woman imprisoned for abducting two of her children from their Canadian father was freed Saturday from French custody in a provisional release, the Justice Ministry said.

In a case that drew trans-Atlantic attention, Nathalie Gettliffe was convicted last month in Vancouver to 16 months in prison. She pleaded guilty, saying she took the children to France in 2001 to remove them from their father’s influence because he was increasingly active in The International Church of Christ, which is banned in France as a sect.

ICOC: a cult of Christianity

Theologically, the International Churches of Christ – which Gettliffe’s former husband belongs to – is a cult of Christianity.

Sociologially, the movement has many cultic elements as well.

Gettliffe was pregnant at the time of her arrest in Canada in April 2006 and gave birth in a Canadian prison. She now has four children: two by Canadian Scott Grant, aged 12 and 13, and two by Frenchman Francis Gruzelle, aged 3 months and 17 months.

Gettliffe was returned to France in December to serve the remainder of her term. On Friday, a judge in Evry, south of Paris, ruled she could be released early to care for her two younger children, but would remain under judicial surveillance.

On Saturday, she left the Fleury-Merogis prison with her baby.

French authorities returned the older children to Vancouver in July, reuniting them with their father.

Gettliffe was arrested when she returned to Canada to finish a doctoral degree in applied linguistics at a university in British Columbia.

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