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Amina, her sister Layla, and their brother Sami are missing from Kent, Ohio. They were abducted by their non-custodial father, Ashraf Saiyed Ahmed Al-Jailani. A photograph and vital statistics for Ashraf are posted below this case summary. A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warrant for international parental kidnapping was issued for him on July 28, 2006.
The children's family history is complicated. Michelle Swensen, the children's mother, met Ashraf, a native of Yemen, in Japan while she was studying abroad at college. She stated he became controlling and abusive, and she left him at one point and went to a woman's shelter, but after 30 days she returned. After he attacked her at a mall in Akron, Ohio in 2001, he was charged with domestic violence and violating a protective order. He pleaded guilty and sentenced to probation. Ashraf was detained as a suspected terrorist in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He was held in Pennsylvania for three and a half years without charges. In the summer of 2004, Swensen was hospitalized for depression for two months. A photograph of Swensen is posted below this case summary. She claims the depression was a result of her husband's detention. He was the only working person in the family and Swensen and the children had to go on public assistance after his arrest.
Ashraf was eventually released from federal custody without being charged with any crimes. He was deported to Yemen, but remained in contact with Swensen and asked her to bring the children to visit him, since he was no longer allowed into the United States. Swensen took the children to Yemen in April 2006; they were to spend the summer with their father and then return to Ohio. Ashraf refused to honor the agreement, however. He took Swensen's and the children's passports and placed a travel ban on them. Under Yemeni law, a man's wife or children are not allowed to leave the country without his permission. Eventually, Ashraf allowed Swensen to return to the United States, but he refused to release the children.
Swensen made two trips to Yemen in an effort to get the children back. She stated she saw Ashraf physically abuse them. In October 2006, she took Sami, Amina and Layla from their father's house and ran away with them. She hid for a week, but was unable to leave the country with the children. After Swensen and the children were located, Ashraf told his wife she would not be allowed to visit them again. Swenson has not seen her son or daughters since. They kept in touch by email for a time, and she calls them once a week, but Ashraf monitors the calls. Swenson has made a website detailing her fight to get her children back.
Ashraf Saiyed Ahmed Al-Jailani
Ashraf Saiyed Ahmed Al-Jailani
Date of Birth: December 24, 1963
Age at disappearance: 42 years old
Weight and Height: 5'9, 162 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Asian male. Black hair, brown eyes. Ashraf has a master's degree in geochemistry and speaks four languages. He was previously employed as a chemist in Akron, Ohio.
Federal Bureau of Investigation