Father, cousin convicted in 2016 kidnapping of Amsterdam toddler Insiya Hemani

The father of Insiya Hemani was convicted and sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison over the young girl’s kidnapping four years ago. His 36-year-old cousin, Imran S., was also convicted in absentia, and sentenced to four years behind bars for his role in the abduction.

“The father and cousin destroyed a family life together with the other suspects,” the court said in a statement. “By forcibly taking Insiya to India, the father placed his own well-being above that of his child and that of her mother.” Both prison sentences match the demand made by the Public Prosecution Service.

Insiya was forcibly taken from her grandmother’s home in Amsterdam on September 29, 2016 by a group of men in a plot which the court determined was orchestrated by Shehzad Hemani, the girl’s father. One of the men involved posed as a social services worker and gained entry to the home shortly after Insiya’s mother, Nadia Rashid, left the house. Two others then gained access to the home, the court said.

One of the three blocked the door armed with tie-wraps and an electric shock weapon. “The cousin was the one who picked up Insiya and took her to the waiting car,” the court said. When the girl’s aunt and grandmother tried to fight back on the street, neighbors rushed in leading to the arrest of one man at the scene.

“The operation was successful on all other points: the two men who took Insiya with them escaped and brought the girl along with another group of kidnappers to the home of one of them in Germany. From there the girl was abducted by her father to India. She seems to reside there to this day,” the court said on Monday.

The court said that Hemani, his cousin and six others carefully prepared the plan and intended to use force when they absconded with the girl. Those six were also convicted and sentenced in a prior hearing, with five having filed appeals in the case. They were sentenced to a maximum four years in prison.

Since then, Hemani has also obstructed contact between the mother and daughter. Because of this, the court said that Insiya’s father has no regard for Dutch or international family law, demonstrated also by ignoring court orders to allow communication between Rashid and Insiya.

During the trial, Rashid said, “Lost time will not be returned. Soon there will be a ruling and all legal remedies will be over, but the question of when I will get my child back has not been answered. Not knowing when she’ll be back is horrible. There is no closure.”

The Amsterdam court also ordered Hemani and his cousin to pay 45 thousand euros in damages. The money was to be divided between Rashid, her mother, her sister and Insiya.