Juana Rivas may face prison despite handing children over to father

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Juana Rivas may face prison despite handing children over to father
NO RETURN: Ms Rivas posted this photo to social media as she spent a month in hiding with the children Photo credit Facebook

After spending almost a month in hiding, Juana Rivas handed her children over to the authorities earlier this week but may still face prison.

The Public Prosecutor has asked for prison without bail for ignoring a court summons despite a previous judge allowing Ms Rivas to walk free.

After being told by the Granada court that any decision concerning custody of her children must be made by the Italian authorities, Juana Rivas accepted and voluntarily surrendered her two children to the Guardia Civil on Monday morning.
They were collected by their Italian father, Francesco Arcuri, later that day.

The couple met in 2004 in London where 23-year-old Ms Rivas was learning English and Mr Arcuri, who was 38, was managing a restaurant.
They had two children and later settled in Sardinia but Ms Rivas returned to Spain in May last year – taking the children without her husband’s consent, claiming he had attacked her mentally and physically and also abused their eldest son.

Ms Rivas has described herself as being trapped in the Italian countryside, living in fear of an abusive partner. But Mr Arcuri, who claims his ex-partner was constantly out partying in San Pietro and leaving him to attend to most of the parental duties, says Spanish public opinion has unjustly turned against him.

A Swiss woman, identified as S.M, who was Mr Arcuri’s partner for 10 years, has said she does “not believe for one second that he has mistreated his wife and kids”.
Campaigners have made Ms Rivas a symbol of Spain’s battle against gender violence, which sees an average of 60 women killed each year by their partners or ex-partners.

But Francesco Arcuri insists he is the victim of a media frenzy that has distorted their relationship, cast him as the villain and deprived him of seeing his children.

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