Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wanted US woman freed in Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica (AP) - A Texas woman wanted by the FBI for international parental kidnapping has been awarded refugee status in Costa Rica and cannot be extradited to the United States.

Costa Rican court on Friday ordered the release of former Fort Worth, Texas nurse Chere Lyn Tomayko, who had been in a Costa Rican prison since September awaiting extradition to the U.S.

Under Costa Rican law, those awarded refugee status cannot be extradited. Refugee status is granted by Costa Rica's migration or security ministries, while asylum in awarded by the foreign ministry.

In December 1996, a U.S. judge gave joint custody of a daughter, Alexandria Camille Cyprian, to Tomayko and her ex-boyfriend Robert Cyprian, with the condition that Alexandria live in Tarrant County, Texas.

Tomayko moved to Costa Rica the following year with Alexandria, then 7, and another daughter.

Tomayko, who is now married to a Costa Rican doctor and has two Costa Rica-born children, told authorities she moved to the Central American country because she had been physically abused by Cyprian.

Attempts to reach Cyprian by phone on Friday were unsuccessful.

Costa Rican Security Minister Janina del Vecchio said Tomayko's domestic violence complaints were taken into consideration when del Vecchio awarded her refugee status earlier this week.

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias said he viewed the case as a human rights issue and called Tomayko's release "wonderful news."

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica called Tomayko's release "disappointing."

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