A Baton Rouge man arrested this month for alleged international parental kidnapping was ordered released from custody Tuesday by a federal judge.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Riedlinger announced that decision after the man’s wife testified she does not believe he will attempt to return their 9-year-old daughter to Iran on a permanent basis.
The criminal file of Iraj Burakhshan remained sealed Tuesday. He had been arrested and jailed on the basis of a federal complaint filed under seal on Aug. 12.
But Farinaz “Parvin” Nikzaeolhosseini, Burakhshan’s wife, told Riedlinger, defense attorney Rod Messina and Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Menner she no longer fears there will be repercussions from marital problems with her husband.
“I don’t believe he’s going to take my daughter without my permission,” Nikzaeolhosseini testified.
Called to the witness stand by Messina, Nikzaeolhosseini said she and her husband had argued for some time before he took their daughter to Iran for a family visit on June 16.
Nikzaeolhosseini said she could not travel because she was enrolled in college courses for the summer.
Her husband and daughter were supposed to return to Baton Rouge on July 7.
They did not return at that time.
Messina wanted to know whether Nikzaeolhosseini’s husband called her and told her, “You will never see your daughter again?”
“No, he did not say that,” Nikzaeolhosseini replied.
Why didn’t Burakhshan bring their daughter to Baton Rouge on schedule? Messina asked.
“He asked me to sign that paper, and I refused,” Nikzaeolhosseini said of a proposed abdication of her parental rights.
“Is he a danger to the community?” Messina asked.
“No, sir,” Nikzaeolhosseini testified. “He is a good man.”
Nikzaeolhosseini said her husband returned their daughter in time for the child to begin school classes on Aug. 15.
Did Burakhshan tell his wife he would never return their daughter to Baton Rouge if she did not surrender her parental rights? Menner, the prosecutor asked.
“Yes, he told me so,” Nikzaeolhosseini replied. But she repeated that she does not now believe her husband would take her daughter from her.
“Her testimony seemed genuine to me,” said Riedlinger, the judge. “She expresses now no real concern.”
Riedlinger added: “I find he’s just not a flight risk anymore. I just don’t see any justification to detain this person.”
Prosecutors now must decide whether to seek a grand jury indictment, charge Burakhshan in a bill of information or dismiss the kidnapping complaint against him. If prosecutors obtain an indictment or file a bill of information, a preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 6, Riedlinger announced.