Kidnappers were "helping distraught father" when abducting Amsterdam toddler: Lawyers
Update 12:00 - the court ruled that both suspects will remain in custody for the time being. The next hearing is scheduled for March 29th.
Two men suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of 2-year-old Insiya Hemani from Amsterdam in September last year, are in court on Thursday. Their lawyers claim that 47-year-old Robert B. and 59-year-old Frederick S. were only trying to help a distraught father get his daughter back, according to reporter Victor Schildkamp tweeting live from the courtroom.
Today is only a pro-forma hearing. The actual trial will take place at a later date. According to the lawyers, B. and S. were only trying to help Insiya's father Shehzad Hemani, who was in a state after Insiya's mother took away his daughter a few months earlier.
S. is suspected of coordinating the kidnapping late in September last year. "He thought he was doing a good ting, helping a distraught father", his lawyer said in court. "He believed in the love of a father for his child." The lawyer wants S. to be released from custody, pointing out that S. cares for his autistic son and therefore will not flee the country.
According to B.'s lawyer, his client thought he was engaged in a legal action, believing that Insiya's mother took her illegally. B. did not know he was involved in a kidnapping and claims that Insiya's family and the neighbor who overpowered him were the ones to use violence, against him.
The Public Prosecutor does not believe it. "Certainly Frederick S., who used to be a policeman, had to know that a kidnapping was not the right way." According to the Prosecutor, S. was paid 40 thousand euros for the kidnapping. And B. was the one that used the most violence during the kidnapping and had a taser and cable ties with him when he was arrested. He was arrested at the scene of the kidnapping, a neighbor overpowered him and held on to him until the police arrived. The neighbor was awarded a medal for his actions.
A total of eight people are suspected of involvement in Insiya's kidnapping. Four were arrested so far and B. and S. are still in custody. The Public Prosecutor is very much against setting them free for the time being. The Prosecutor believes that both suspects will flee the moment they are released. He pointed out that S. has no fixed address and only stays at his son's home every now and again.
Father Shehzad Hemani is seen as the mastermind behind the kidnapping. He is currently in India with Insiya. He and Insiya's mother were in the midst of a custody battle and had a court hearing scheduled for the day after the kidnapping.