Toronto Sun

Friday, January 3, 2003

Father who nabbed girl jailed

By GRETCHEN DRUMMIE, COURTS BUREAU TORONTO SUN

Merhdad Pasdari claims he abducted his young daughter and tried to take her to Iran in a bid to lure his cheating wife away from her lover's "spell" and rekindle their failing marriage.

But Justice John Hamilton said yesterday that "every father and every mother has to obey the laws of the land. You don't deprive your spouse of the custody of children."

He jailed Pasdari for three months on top of 16 days pretrial custody, and declined to impose a conditional discharge, noting parents "have to get the message jail is the only sentence that would be adequate."

Pasdari, 38, of Aurora Court, pleaded guilty to an abduction charge. He was also given three years probation including a condition that he surrender his daughter's documents and have no contact with her unless a court orders access.

FLED IN TEARS

After the sentencing, his wife, Afsaneh Tehrani, fled court in tears.

Court heard that on March 28, 2000, Pasdari, a computer programmer, picked up his daughter early from school, packed up their clothes, jewelry and $40,000 from joint bank accounts, and caught a flight to Tehran with an Amsterdam layover.

Tehrani obtained an interim custody order and Toronto Police tracked the pair down. Dutch authorities boarded the plane in Amsterdam and arrested Pasdari.

Pasdari's lawyer, Reid Rusonik, explained that it was a "ploy" by his client to get his unfaithful wife back.

Rusonik said Pasdari had planned to return to Toronto. Hamilton, however, was skeptical, saying that the missing money gives him a "reason to believe it's permanent."

Copyright © 2003, Canoe, a division of Netgraphe Inc.