Sun, Nov 16, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Iruan's relatives not yet ready to throw in the towel

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwanese family members of Brazilian-Taiwanese Iruan Ergui Wu (吳憶樺) yesterday said that they would fight until the last minute to keep the boy, even though they weren't sure what they could do.

"I have been preparing myself to accept the fact that the final verdict would be to send Iruan back to Brazil, even before the verdict on Thursday," said Wu Huo-yen (吳火眼), Iruan's uncle.

"However, I am still shocked about the court decision and feeling helpless right now," he said.

"It is out of my hands now. I hope officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can do something for us," he said.

Wu said no one in the family wanted to see Iruan go but the verdict seemed to be a reminder that, "It's time to let go of Iruan."

Although Wu is hoping the ministry could help him keep his nephew, there is little it could do since the court decision involved a civil suit between Iruan's Taiwanese and Brazilian relatives.

On Thursday evening, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict by the Taiwan High Court's Kaohsiung branch that Iruan must return to the guardianship of his Brazilian grandmother, Rosa Ergui, basing its decision on Article 1094 of the Civil Code.

The article says, "Where both parents can not exercise the rights nor assume the duties in regard to a minor child, or where the parents die without appointing any guardian by a will, the guardian is determined by the following order: 1. Grandparents living in the same household with the minor; 2. Head of the house; 3. Grandparents not living in the same household with the minor; 4. Paternal uncle; 5. Person selected by the family council."

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yi-shih (林益世), who has been helping Wu from the beginning of the controversy over the boy, said that he would do whatever he can that would be best for Iruan as well as his relatives, both Taiwanese and Brazilian.

"I was surprised that the verdict came so quickly," Lin said. "The verdict says that Iruan must return to Brazil, but it does not say that Iruan must say goodbye for good to any of his family members. There must be something we can work out."

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