Iranian man charges with kidnapping pleads guilty

A man charged with kidnapping after he was foiled in an attempt to take his young sons to his native Iran pleaded guilty in a deal that is expected to spare him a prison sentence. Hassan Khalegi, 38, entered the plea Tuesday in U.S. District Court. Assistant U.S. Attorney Vincent Lombardi agreed to recommend that the man serve no prison time when he is sentenced in January, although the maximum sentence is three years.

Khalegi and his wife, who hold U.S. and Iranian citizenship, had been arguing about whether to move back to Iran, Lombardi said Tuesday. On May 13, Khalegi called his wife to say that he had their two children, 7-year-old Cyrus and 1-year-old Darius, and was about to board a flight.

The wife, Akram Hosseinzadeh of Bellevue, Washington state, immediately called her lawyer, who alerted the FBI, and Lombardi scrambled to obtain an arrest warrant from U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler. Meanwhile, Lombardi's colleague, Lawrence Lincoln, was on the phone with the Justice Department, asking to mobilize Dutch police and U.S. agents in the Netherlands, where Khalegi was scheduled to land before heading on to Iran.

When Khalegi tried to change planes in Amsterdam, he was arrested. Hosseinzadeh then flew to the Netherlands to bring the boys home, reports the AP. I.L.

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