Mother of Scots children trapped in Libya tells of terror

Lisa Stark is desperate to get her sons out of Libya

A SCOTS mother has spoken of her “petrifying” fear for her young children trapped in the horror of the Libyan revolution.

Lisa Stark is fighting to get her children out of Benghazi where their father is keeping them.

The 30-year-old said she feared the worst as the country descended into civil war and she could not contact the boys for days.

The student and restaurant manager wants to get Adam, 10, and Omar, seven, back to Scotland after splitting from their Libyan father Hassan Osman, 39.

Speaking at her home in Broxburn, West Lothian, which she once shared with her husband and children, Ms Stark explained that after moving to Libya with her family she found it hard to adjust to the culture and after three years of oppression made the painful decision to move back to Scotland in 2007 leaving her children with their father, 39.

As Libya has not signed the Hague Convention – which protects children against international abduction – it is almost impossible to get the children back.

After two years with no contact she was reunited with her children in Libya last year with the help of the charity Children and Families Across Borders.

Adam and Oman were taken to Benghazi by their father, Hassan Osman

Her fight to bring her boys home intensified when earlier this year civil war broke out across the country.

Ms Stark said: “I was absolutely petrified when everything started. I was scared that they were going to get bombed by our own people when NATO started moving in as bombs don’t discriminate. It was horrible.”

Ms Stark, who now has telephone contact with the boys, said that her children were being kept positive but their father’s family.

“When I spoke to them they were very happy. I was asking them if they could see soldiers, could they see guns? And they were quite excited saying ‘Yes they are practicing with their guns but it is okay’, they said ‘Benghazi’s free now and we’ve got a new flag so don’t worry.

“They were positive but the family are like that, they will pacify them that way.

“I am angry with the family but I need to keep the peace to keep contact with my kids.

“It is unbelievably frustrating that I can’t just go get them. I just feel like my hands are tied, I’m gagged and I just have to comply to get the contact that I can.”

Ms Stark has contacted MSP Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs but has so far received no help.

“I wrote a letter to her just before all the trouble broke out, asking if there was something she could do to help me as she’s my way into the British parliament.

“The reply that I got wasn’t even from her but it said that due to the situation with the Hague Convention that there is basically nothing they can do.

“I want to write to David Cameron or even Gordon Brown but I just don’t want to get told ‘no’ again.

Lisa moved to Libya with Hassan but was unable to adjust and moved byack in 2007

“I would think that with what is going on over there that the British Government should be helping me to get them out but it isn’t happening.”

Despite the turmoil throughout Libya as rebels fight to expel Colonel Gaddafi’s troops, Ms Stark hopes that it will lead to her children being returned to Scotland.

She said: “There is another side to it where if my kids are being brought up there then it’s hopefully going to end up being a better environment for them and hopefully if Libya sign up to the Hague Convention then there would be more of a chance of me getting them out.

“Of course I am worried but I have always felt that they are quite safe and I hope that if it had gotten very bad where they were that my husband would have gotten them out.

Ms Stark has no contact with Mr Osman, or his family, including his Scottish mother, and has only been updated on what is happening in the war torn country by her young children.

She said: “I haven’t been given any assurances since the fighting started that the kids would be okay so I just have to trust that he will be a good father and protect them.

“I just have to sit with my fingers crossed and hope that it comes to an end soon. I’m thankful that my kids are young so that they don’t understand how serious it all is.”