Tag Archives: crime

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

Advertisements

Plea to the Indian Government for parental child abduction

Our children are our only hope for the future and we are duty bound to provide them hope for their present and for their future, I request the Indian Government to take the issue of parental abduction seriously and take the following steps immediately and concurrently:

A) Treat issues relating to parental child abduction with urgency and resolve expeditiously in Judiciary

  • When children are used as PAWNS in marital disputes, SEPARATE custody issue from other matters, give it PRECEDENCE over other matters, and FAST TRACK it – maximum 6 MOS. to resolution
  • Apply COMMONSENSE principles to define JURISDICTION based on “habitual and natural residence” and prevent FORUM SHOPPING

B) Ensure Judiciary Prevents Child Abuse and Maintains Contact

  • At FIRST hearing pass orders to ensure that child maintains CONTACT with left behind PARENTS and GRANDPARENTS
  • ENFORCE orders and PREVENT ABUSE by assigning licensed child psychologist and counselor to case and order BI-WEEKLY welfare visits and MANDATORY child counseling

C) Safeguard Child Rights

  • NCPCR should set up a SPECIAL INDEPENDENT COMMISSION immediately to investigate the VIOLATION of children’s rights under UNCRC in cases of parental child abduction
  • Submit REPORT & RECOMMENDATIONS within the next 6 MOS.

D) Make Parental Abduction a Crime

  • Parental abduction is a heinous CRIME and is tantamount to CHILD ABUSE of the worst kind
  • DETER abductions by treating it as a cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable CRIME

E) Sign the Hague Convention

  • Ensure prompt RETURN of children wrongfully removed to and retained in India
  • Ensure that rights of custody and of access under the LAW of NRI’s country are RESPECTED in India

NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON LEGAL AND JUDICIAL REFORMS IN INDIA