Lawyers claim Indian court ordered abducted Amsterdam girl to stay with father; "Fake news," says mom

Insiya Hemani, kidnapped from Amsterdam in September 2016
Insiya Hemani, kidnapped from Amsterdam in September 2016Photo: Nadia Rashid / Facebook

Insiya Hemani, the now 4-year-old girl who was allegedly taken from her Amsterdam home by people hired by her father, will stay in India with her father, his legal team said. The team made the statement based on their interpretation of an Indian court’s ruling on appeal, though that ruling was not yet published by the court. Insiya's mother contested the claim saying no such ruling was made, calling the statement from the father's side "fake news."

Lawyers for the Shehzad Hemani claim that the Indian judiciary sided with their stance that Insiya's mother, Nadia Rashid, is the child’s abductor. They told this in an update to Hemani's Amsterdam-based attorney, Gerard Spong, the Het Parool reports. “And I have no reason to doubt my colleague, Mrs. Nevill Majra”, Spong told the paper. “I met her in Mumbai, an elegant and knowledgeable lawyer.”

Rashid whole-heartedly disputed the interpretation of the court hearing as stated by Hemani's team. "The Supreme Court never said that India considers me a kidnapper," Rashid told the NL Times in an interview. "The Supreme Court has referred the whole case back to the family court, they have to decide the custody issue within 6 months," she continued, saying that the family court must ignore an earlier ruling blocking Insiya's return to the Netherlands.

"And I can have Skype access 3 times a week to Insiya," she said the court ruled. A Skype call would mark the first contact in nearly two years between the mother and daughter.

Hemani and Rashid have been separated, and fighting over custody of Insiya, for years. Before their separation, they mainly lived in India. In 2014 Rashid came to the Netherlands with her daughter, to start the divorce procedures here. In September 2016, Inisya was violently abducted from her grandmother's apartment in Amsterdam. According to the Dutch authorities, Hemani was behind the abduction, helped by seven accomplices. The girl was torn from her grandmother's arms, and turned up in India weeks later, with her father. 

The criminal case surrounding the abduction is being conducted in the Netherlands. But the lawsuit about who will get custody of Insiya had to be fought out in India. Rashid therefore started a custody case in India. A lower judge previously ruled that Insiya must be returned to her mother in the Netherlands in March this year, but Hemani managed to prevent this happening by appealing against the ruling. The Supreme Court in India now ruled that Insiya will live with him permanently, according to his lawyers.

The Indian judiciary also decided that mother Rashid can have video contact with Insiya several times a month. She is not available for comment, her lawyer, Peter Plasman, said to Het Parool.

A criminal case against Hemani and his seven accomplices is still ongoing in the Netherlands, with proceedings set to begin in October. Hemani is suspected of abducting the child. It is unclear whether or not a conviction against Hemani in the Netherlands will have any influence on the custody battle.