A day after the mother of four children who were taken to Iran by their father met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, their father has now spoken out to the media.
Speaking to Global News, Saren Azer, a well known former Vancouver Island doctor, says the children “were in a psychological and mental war zone” in Canada following a bitter divorce and custody fight.
“All of the struggles that were happening in our life, it shattered my children’s mental, emotional, and physical health. And I was profoundly concerned about what had happened to the children as time goes by. They were so young. We suffered so much, that our lives was divided among proceedings of the ministry, proceedings of the RCMP, proceedings of the family court.”
Azer goes on to say the children are now happy where they are.
“My children are absolutely at peace, they are happy and they are delighted.”
“Let any psychologist, any child psychologist to look at my children’s photos and videos and tell me that they are in war zones and that they’re coming back in bodybags, no.”
In August of 2015 Azer took the children, aged 11, 9, 7 and 3 on what was meant to be a short visit to Europe, but instead of returning them to Canada hopped on a flight to the Kurdish region of Iraq. He then took them across the border into Iran.
Last week he broke his silence publicly for the first time, posting a lengthy post to Facebook along with photos and videos of the children.
Azer is wanted on both a Canada-wide warrant and is on an Interpol red list.
Their mother, Alison Azer, has since been publicly campaigning for their return, and has launched the website Find Azer Kids Now.
WATCH: Saren Azer’s complete interview with Global News