Story By: Delano Langras, Sub Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
The Indian millionaire who had his two-year-old daughter kidnapped four years ago has skipped his trial in Amsterdam.
The 41-year-old businessman, Shehzad Hemani, had his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Insiya kidnapped at her grandmother’s house in the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam and smuggled her to India.
The prosecution has labelled Mr Hemani “the mastermind behind the kidnapping” and has called for him to face nine years in prison.
According to the national newspaper AD, three men rang the doorbell in broad daylight and snatched Insiya, then aged two, from her grandma’s hands during the violent kidnapping in September 2016.
The woman screamed and neighbours came to the rescue, one man even managed to take out one of the suspects and detain him with a judo grip, but Insiya disappeared.
Hemani managed to get his daughter to Mumbai in a private plane, despite an amber alert and has even shared photos with her on social media since.
According to the judiciary in Amsterdam, as reported by AD, Hemani has not even sent a lawyer to represent him, and no other representative had reported to the courthouse.
Insiya’s mother, Nadia Rashid, shared a video with an open letter to the queen last year to get her daughter back.
Five men and a woman were sentenced to imprisonment of up to four years and three months last July at a previous point in the trial.
It was found that Hemani had paid them several tens of thousands of euros to carry out the job.
The millionaire from Mumbai has shared different press releases over the years to explain his side of the story, saying that his ex-wife Rashid took their daughter to the Netherlands with his permission for a visit but then never came back.
Rashid’s lawyer Peter Plasman announced that the Indian courts have not yet made a final decision as to whether Insiya should be extradited to the Netherlands.
MP Pieter Omzigt, among others, has urged the Dutch government to take action to reclaim Insiya and take more drastic measures if necessary.
The Hague imposed a 10,000 EUR fine for every day Hemani has kept his daughter in India since September 2019.
The court in Amsterdam has now had to hear Hemani’s case in absentia, along with the case of his co-suspect and nephew, Imran S, who has also absconded.
Insiya’s mother has said that she has only seen her daughter on Skype three times since the kidnapping and has vowed to keep fighting for her daughter’s return.
She told the packed court: “Insiya has not been able to tell me what she would like for dinner, what story she reads and has not been able to see how her mother celebrates her birthday every year. I cannot explain in words how great the loss is.
“On the one hand, I am a full-time mother. On the other hand, I have to live with the restrictions that exist to ensure my safety.
“I am totally out of the picture myself. Like a clock in which the hour hand continues, but the hour hand stops.”
The girl is still living at her father’s home in India, however it is not clear what condition she is in.
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