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US Appeals Court orders release of Russian woman convicted of parental kidnapping

Court of Appeals (AgnosticPreachersKid/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A U.S. appeals court has ordered the immediate release of a Russian woman who was convicted of international parental kidnapping for moving her children from the United States to Russia amid a divorce from her American husband.

Bogdana Alexandrovna Osipova was convicted in Kansas last year on the kidnapping charge and two counts of attempting to extort money.

She was acquitted of the extortion convictions in August by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the court upheld the parental kidnapping charge, sending the case back to a lower court for resentencing.

Federal prosecutors did not fight the appeals court’s November 5 decision.

Osipova, who has been imprisoned since 2017, sought her release because she had already served the maximum three-year prison sentence allowed on the kidnapping charge. She filed an emergency appeal after the lower court judge failed to immediately free her.

The federal appeals court told a lower court judge to order her release and schedule a date for resentencing over videoconference, which has been scheduled for January 8.

Osipova’s attorney, Craig Divine, did not immediately return an e-mail message from RFE/RL seeking comment.

Osipova, who has dual Russian and U.S. citizenship, left Kansas in 2014 with her two children. She gave birth to a third child soon after returning to Russia.

The Kansas judge awarded sole custody of the children to her ex-husband, Brian Mobley, because she had left without court approval or Mobley’s knowledge. A Russian court awarded custody to Osipova.

Osipova was arrested in September 2017 after returning to the United States without her children to seek a change in child-support arrangements.

Russia demanded last year that Osipova be released, while U.S. Representative Ron Estes (R-KS) called on Russia to reunite the Kansas father with his children.