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Fugitive Brothers Who Took Their Sons on Two-Year International Odyssey Plead Guilty to International Parental Kidnapping

May 11, 2012

LOS ANGELES – The second of two brothers who removed their minor sons from the United States without the consent of their custodial mothers pleaded guilty this week to federal charges of international parental kidnapping.

The two brothers were recently extradited to the United States from the Netherlands, where they were located by the FBI.

In July 2008, George Silah and John Silah left the United States, taking with them George Silah’s two sons and John Silah’s one son. Both men were divorced from the boys’ mothers and had only partial legal custody of the boys, who resided in the Los Angeles area.

Over the next two years, the group traveled through Mexico, Central America and Europe. In November 2010, the Silah brothers and their sons were found in the Netherlands. At the request of the United States, John and George Silah were detained by Dutch authorities. The boys’ mothers then flew to the Netherlands, where they were reunited with their sons.

John Silah was extradited to the United States in March. On Tuesday, May 8, John Silah pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Judge Otis D. Wright II to one count of international parental kidnapping. Judge Wright is scheduled to sentence John Silah on August 6. John Silah, 51, is a citizen of Syria.

George Silah was returned to the United States in October 2011. On February 21, George Silah pleaded guilty before Judge Wright to two counts of international parental kidnapping. Judge Wright is scheduled to sentence George Silah on May 29. George Silah, 49, is a naturalized citizen of the United States.

The statutory maximum penalty for the crime of international parental kidnapping is three years in federal prison.

The investigation into the Silah brothers was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles Police Department.

Release No. 12-063

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