Category Archives: IPKCA

False Allegations thwart criminal proceedings

Parental kidnapping is a crime in the US. However the way the US code is written (see below), if the kidnapper has made allegations of domestic violence/child abuse, the kidnapper can try to take shelter under these as “affirmative defense”.
No surprise then that so few moms who kidnap their children and take them abroad escape federal warrants and criminal prosecution. Because if there is anyone who knows how to make false allegations of abuse, it is MOM. Dads, even if they were to make allegations will probably be laughed off.

§ 1204. International parental kidnapping

(a) Whoever removes a child from the United States, or attempts to do so, or retains a child (who has been in the United States) outside the United States with intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 3 years, or both.
(b) As used in this section—
(1) the term “child” means a person who has not attained the age of 16 years; and
(2) the term “parental rights”, with respect to a child, means the right to physical custody of the child—
(A) whether joint or sole (and includes visiting rights); and
(B) whether arising by operation of law, court order, or legally binding agreement of the parties.
(c) It shall be an affirmative defense under this section that—
(1) the defendant acted within the provisions of a valid court order granting the defendant legal custody or visitation rights and that order was obtained pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and was in effect at the time of the offense;
(2) the defendant was fleeing an incidence or pattern of domestic violence; or
(3) the defendant had physical custody of the child pursuant to a court order granting legal custody or visitation rights and failed to return the child as a result of circumstances beyond the defendant’s control, and the defendant notified or made reasonable attempts to notify the other parent or lawful custodian of the child of such circumstances within 24 hours after the visitation period had expired and returned the child as soon as possible.
(d) This section does not detract from The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction, done at The Hague on October 25, 1980.

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

Shannon Vs. Khalifa: Significant Success for International Parental Kidnapping victims

“Maryland’s highest court has upheld a $3 million dollar jury award in favor of an Anne Arundel County man whose two sons were illegally taken out of the country by his ex-wife and mother-in-law.

“The Court of Appeals upheld Michael Shannon’s right to seek civil damages and denied claims by Nermeen Khalifa Shannon and her mother, Afaf Khalifa, that the award was excessive.

“The court opinion says the women knowingly deprived Shannon of the love and comfort of his two children. The boys were taken to Egypt nearly seven years ago, when one was 4 and the other was less than a year old. They are believed to be living in Cairo.”