By Louise Flanagan
One small child, two abductions, three false passports, four years of fighting, at least 11 court actions - and the battle between two bitter parents is far from over.
The South African woman who snatched her son from her ex-husband and fled to South Africa has now lost custody of her son in the US and faces an attempt to extradite her.
On Thursday, more papers were filed in the Pretoria High Court in the battle for custody over Liam Berger, four, the US-born child snatched by Linda Volschenk Berger in October and taken halfway around the world on a false passport.
The papers indicate that Hal Berger, Liam's father, won an emergency order from the California courts for sole legal and physical custody of Liam on October 12, two days after Linda failed to return Liam to his father after a visit and disappeared with him.
The same court order bars Linda from any contact with Liam and orders her to return the boy to his father.
Eleven days later, the California court issued a "felony complaint for extradition" against Linda for disappearing with Liam.
The court action is one of two under way in the Pretoria High Court between the warring parents and the South African authorities acting with powers conferred by an international treaty on child abductions.
The first case was brought by Linda in early November against the SA Central Authority and Hal. In this case, Linda won an interim order allowing her to stay in SA, have custody of Liam and blocked Hal's access to the boy.
This case backfired on Linda when she was forced to admit she had used false passports to leave the US, travel through various countries and arrive in SA. In December, she has to explain to the court why she should not be arrested for failing to provide the documents.
The second was brought by the Central Authority and Hal against Linda to demand Liam's return to the US.
Hal's lengthy affidavit, filed in both cases, details the protracted fight over Liam's custody, court battles, arrest warrants, fights at international airports, and squabbles over cars he paid for Linda to use in the US.
In an affidavit to the Pretoria High Court, Linda said her situation in the US was intolerable.
Earlier, Linda's mother told The Star she was concerned that Hal was abusing Liam.
In his affidavit filed in the Pretoria High Court on Thursday, Hal said Linda told the California court in April that "Hal is a good parent" and that it was best for Liam to stay in the US.