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French couple issues appeal in surrogacy case

A French family detained in Ukraine for trying to smuggle out twins born to a surrogate mother appealed Thursday for a sympathetic country to grant the children citizenship.

The family was detained last month for trying to cross the Hungarian border with the infants hidden under a mattress in their van. The parents have said they acted out of despair after the French government refused to issue the daughters passports because it does not recognize children born to surrogate mothers. A top French court upheld that stance in a ruling Wednesday.

In an appeal to media Thursday, the family urged any nation that recognizes surrogate births to grant citizenship to the girls.

"We just hope that any nation out there can give our little girls citizenship so that we can finally take them home," said the girls' French mother from the western city of Uzhorod where the family is awaiting trial after being released on bail. The woman, who herself does not face legal action, declined to give her name saying publicity would hurt her children's future.

Her husband and father-in-law have been charged with illegal border crossing and are to go on trial in May. They face up to seven years in prison if convicted. The family hopes for a suspended sentence or a fine, the French woman said.