Parental Abduction is a Crime in the US: US v. Fazal

This is for those whose children have been kidnapped from the US by a parent to Hague or non-hague countries. Many of us may not realize this but parental abduction is a crime in the US and governed by IPKCA.

There are at least 19-20 cases under IPKCA where parents have been convicted for taking children away. I have undertaken a project to research these cases and build further knowledge and will post my findings here.

The first case I am posting details on today is UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,Appellee,v.FAZAL-UR-RAHEMAN-FAZALa/k/a Fazal Raheman

Dr. Fazal Raheman, who was convicted of the crime in the following circumstances: He had married his wife in India and moved with her to Massachusetts. They had two children. After a few years he apparently became concerned that his wife was becoming too “independent” and he “made threats” against her. He then took the children without her consent to his former home in Nagpur, India and refused to return them. His wife obtained an emergency custody order from a court in Massachusetts while the husband obtained a custody order in his favor from the Nagpur Family Court. The mother traveled to India to try to find her children and bring them home but her husband filed criminal charges against her in India and she fled to the United States without her children. Dr. Raheman was then charged with the crime of international parental kidnapping. He was also charged with wire tapping since he had illegally tapped his wife’s telephone and videotaped her. He was captured during a return trip to the United States and after trial he was convicted of both charges and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. He was ultimately released from prison on condition that he effect the return of his two children – then 12 and 8 years of age – to their mother in the United States. However, Dr. Raheman then proceeded to provide false information to the Nagpur Family Court, which was found to have inhibited the likelihood that the children would be returned to the United States. As a result he was sentenced to a further year and a day in prison. The Nagpur court transferred custody of the children to Raheman’s elderly mother in Nagpur and the mother had no contact with them except for sporadic visits. Imposing the second sentence, Judge Patti B. Saris harshly criticized Raheman for stealing the children from their home in the U.S., and noted that Raheman had betrayed the trust of the country which had given him great benefits while he lived here. Dr. Raheman appealed but a federal appellate court held that the International Parental Kidnapping Act was applicable to a father who took his children from the United States to India even though the pre-decree abduction was not illegal under state law. United States v. Fazal-Ur-Raheman-Fazal, 355 F.3d 40 (1st Cir. 2004).

The 2002 order  The 2004 opinion

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2 responses to “Parental Abduction is a Crime in the US: US v. Fazal

  1. Hello there. I was sent a link to your blog by a friend a while ago. I have been reading a long for a while now. Just wanted to say HI. Thanks for putting in all the hard work.

    Jennifer Lancey

  2. Very nice initiative.

    Please create a category something like — PAS Court Cases – etc and tag such cases in that category for handy retrieval.

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