A Marine who helped an Afghan couple convey a younger lady to America for medical care throughout final yr’s withdrawal of US troops has been accused of abducting the kid.
In a lawsuit filed final month, the couple alleged Marine Corps lawyer Joshua Mast gave officers an Afghan passport for the lady that bore his personal final identify when he introduced the household to Washington DC in August 2021, in line with the Related Press.
5 days after they arrived on US soil, Mast returned with custody papers he’d been granted years earlier and took the kid.
The lawsuit accuses Mast and his spouse Stephanie of false imprisonment, conspiracy, fraud and assault.
The lady, now three-and-a-half years outdated, has been on the middle of a number of lawsuits involving the couple and the Masts since she was rescued after a US Particular Forces raid that killed her dad and mom and 5 siblings in 2019.
Following the tragedy, the orphaned 2-month-old was rushed to a navy hospital and positioned within the care of the Protection Division.
The US Embassy in Kabul then met with representatives from the Purple Cross, the Afghan authorities and the American navy, together with Mast. They got here to the settlement that the US was required to do all the things potential to reunite the kid along with her household.
Regardless of this, Mast petitioned to the Juvenile and Home Relations court docket in his house jurisdiction of Fluvanna County, Virginia for custody of the kid.
The Masts described her as a “stateless minor recovered off the battlefield,” and in November 2019, a decide granted them authorized custody.
Joshua Mast mentioned he believed saving the newborn from Afghanistan was an act of Christian religion, and within the course of went as far as to enchantment to high-ranking Trump administration officers to make sure the adoption went by way of.
The Masts declare the kid’s father killed his household by detonating a suicide vest, whereas the Afghan couple’s lawyer has mentioned the lady’s dad and mom have been harmless farmers and civilian casualties of the US assault.
The Virginia custody order was granted after the Masts claimed the Afghan authorities supposed to waive jurisdiction over the kid — although the federal government by no means did.
Across the similar time, the Purple Cross discovered the kid’s cousin and his spouse, and reunited the now-8 month outdated with them in Afghanistan.
Following the reunion, Mast was apprehensive the kid was in “an objectively harmful scenario,” in line with court docket paperwork.
On the newborn’s second birthday, a cellphone name was facilitated between the Afghan couple and Mast, who warned them if the kid didn’t obtain medical care within the US she might “be blind, mind broken and/or completely bodily disabled.”
The Afghan man now elevating her had labored within the medical discipline, and didn’t suppose her burn scars, leg damage and mysterious allergic reactions have been life-threatening or as severe as Mast described. The couple declined to ship the newborn over.
That modified later that summer season when the Taliban seized energy in Afghanistan. Mast contacted the couple once more and mentioned to convey the newborn again to the US. This time, they agreed.
Whereas at a stopover in Germany, the Masts tried to get the couple to permit the newborn to journey individually 3 times, the Afghan couple allege of their lawsuit.
After they arrived in Washington D.C., Mast took out an Afghan passport that contained a photograph of the kid and his final identify. A girl who referred to as herself a social employee arrived and knowledgeable the couple that the Masts have been the lady’s authorized guardians.
The kid was then taken to Mast’s automobile, the place his spouse was ready, the swimsuit alleges.
In response to the lawsuit, the Masts acknowledge they “took custody” of the kid, however say their adoption order from Virginia was legitimate.
The Afghan couple, now residing in Texas, have requested the decide in Virginia to reverse the adoption.
With Submit wires.
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