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Afghan couple say a sailor who helped them evacuate took their baby away

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An Afghan couple pursue Marine Major Joshua Mast and his wife, Stephanie Mast. The couple alleged that the Masts engaged in a fraudulent scheme to illegally kidnap their baby. The Masts have denied the charges and said their adoption of the baby was legal. Something is loading.

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A couple from Afghanistan who were evacuated to the United States as refugees last year have accused a Marine of abducting their baby shortly after their arrival, according to a complaint filed last month in federal court.

The couple, identified as Jane and John Doe, have accused Major Joshua Mast and his wife, Stephanie Mast, of conspiracy, fraud and false imprisonment in connection with what they describe as the unlawful abduction of the child, identified like Baby Doe. The trial and charges were first reported by The Associated Press on Thursday.

The lawsuit says Baby Doe’s family, including her parents and five siblings, were killed in September 2019 during a US military special operation in the Afghan countryside. Baby Doe, two months old at the time, was seriously injured but survived and was taken to a military hospital.

Joshua Mast, then a Marine Corps captain stationed in Afghanistan, “fraudulently obtained a custody order” for the child in a Virginia court, according to the lawsuit. However, the US government took no action to release Baby Doe to the Masts. An unnamed State Department official told they were confident the baby belonged to Afghanistan, not the United States, and that under international humanitarian law they were obligated to try to find his next of kin.

Officials voiced those views about six weeks after the baby was rescued during a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul attended by the Red Cross, Afghan officials and the U.S. military, including Mast, reported.

As Mast continued her efforts to adopt the baby, who was still in Afghanistan, her family was eventually found. The baby was handed over to his first cousin, identified in the lawsuit as John Doe, and his wife, Jane Doe, who assumed legal guardianship.

The Masts also tried to appeal to Vice President Mike Pence’s office to have the baby brought to the United States, reported, and even tried to contact President Donald Trump through Mick Mulvaney, who was serving at the White House era. leader.

The Masts eventually contacted John and Jane Doe, and their lawyer told the couple that the Marine wanted to make sure the baby got the medical care he needed, but didn’t reveal their true intention to adopt the baby. , according to the lawsuit. The couple claimed the Masts had communicated with them for over a year.

In August 2021, the same month that U.S. forces chaotically withdrew from Afghanistan, John and Jane Doe traveled to the United States with Baby Doe in an effort to obtain her medical treatment, according to the lawsuit, ” only for Joshua and Stephanie Mast to tear her away from the only parents she’s known for most of her life.”

John and Jane Doe told that the masts helped coordinate their trip to the United States. When they arrived at a Washington, DC airport, they were shocked to see Mast produce an Afghan passport for the baby – with his own last name printed on the document, the reported.

Attorneys for John and Jane Doe and the Masts did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

The Masts, who filed a motion last week to have the lawsuit dismissed, denied the charges and insisted their adoption of Baby Doe was legal.

“Joshua and Stephanie Mast have done nothing but ensure that she receives the medical care she needs, at great personal expense and sacrifice, and provide her with a loving home,” the motion reads.

The Masts also alleged in emails to military officials seen by that the baby’s family was not killed as a result of a special military operation but rather a suicide bombing, accusing his family of to be terrorists, a charge John and Jane Doe have denied. The Masts also questioned whether or not the couple were related to the baby, which the Red Cross, which brings together relatives in war zones and identified the couple as the baby’s next of kin, refuted. , reported .

Attorneys for the Justice Department also contradicted the Masts’ claim, describing their custody documents obtained in Virginia as “illegal,” according to .

The Afghan couple told they have been devastated since the loss of Baby Doe. “Right now we are just corpses. Our hearts are broken. We have no plans for the future without her. Food has no taste and sleep gives us no rest,” said Jane Doe at the point of sale.

A flyer obtained by suggested the Masts were sharing their story at a church service in Ohio on Feb. 27, 2022. The service was not streamed online and the flyer gave few details, but said: unforeseen circumstances gave the couple an unexpected opportunity to stand up and protect innocent life. Come hear how the mighty hand of God brought about a remarkable deliverance.

Do you have a topical tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

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