Dutch govt. working on getting kidnapped Amsterdam toddler back

Insiya Hemani, kidnapped in Amsterdam and taken to India
Undated photo of Insiya Hemani, kidnapped from her mother's home in Amsterdam when she was 2Photo: Politie

Ministers Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs and Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice are working on getting kidnapped toddler Insiya Hemani back home. They are working through the embassy in India to try and get the 2-year-old girl back to the Netherlands, NOS reports.

"The most important thing isthat we manage to bring her back", Koenders said to the broadcaster. "It is a terrible case in which excessive violence was used,  also in the Netherlands. Van der Steur called it a terrible tragedy. In the interest of the case, the minsters can't say more.

Insiya was kidnapped from Amsterdam by three men on September 29th. The authorities believe her father, 37-year-ol Indian business man Shehzad Hemani, is behind the kidnapping. He and Insiya's mother were in the midst of a custody battle.

On Friday morning the Telegraaf reported that the toddler is being held in her father's mother's apartment in Mumbai, India. Witnesses saw and heard the Amsterdam toddler.

The Public Prosecutor in Amsterdam could not confirm that Insiya is in Mumbai, but did say to NOS that Shehzad Hemani has been spotted there. The Prosecutor and police are working on a criminal investigation.

According to Dutch newspaper AD, lawyer Gerard Spong is with Shehzad Hemani in India and the two are working on a solution. "However I can say nothing about it", the lawyer said to the newspaper from India.

The fact that lawyer Spong is in India trying to help his client find a solution is a positive development, Coşkun Çörüz, director of the International Child Abduction Center, said to NOS. He believes there is a chance for mediation. "We previously achieved good results with that, despite the fact that the relationship is very disturbed. The relatives may want to still play a very positive roll. It may therefore still be fine." he said. 

It concerns him that Insiya seems to be in India, as the country does not extradite nationals and is not affiliated with the Hague Child Abduction Convention, signed in 1980. "That makes this case poignant, because that treaty gives certain legal rules and now you are actually reliant on diplomacy or hiring a private lawyer. But those are very long and costly trajectories."

Çörüz notes that political pressure can help. "Some countries are sensitive to it, especially if you can make it even bigger in the European framework. And countries are more impressed if financially there's something in return, such as development aid", he said to NOS.