Lawyer: Myanmar Refugee Jailed on Sex Assault Charges in NH Unable to Communicate
NASHUA (AP) — A refugee from Myanmar jailed in New Hampshire on sexual assault charges doesn't speak English and hasn't been able to communicate with lawyers or corrections staff, his attorney said.
Mohammod Rafique and his family fled persecution in their native country, and his experiences have left him extremely fearful of law enforcement, attorney Amanda Henderson said, according to the Telegraph of Nashua. A hearing last week had to be continued after the 27-year-old Rafique collapsed in the courtroom.
Rafique has been jailed in Nashua since Sept. 19 on three counts of felonious sexual assault and three counts of attempted felonious sexual assault. Authorities say he grabbed, tried to kiss and improperly touched four girls, ages 7 to 12.
There was no record of whether he entered a plea. Henderson asked a judge to change his $15,000 cash bail, but a prosecutor disagreed, saying he was a flight risk.
A judge on Monday ordered the jail to get an interpreter for Rafique to help him seek medical treatment, but the bail motion was denied.
"He has constant nightmares . suffers debilitating anxiety," Henderson said. "Just thinking about returning to jail caused him so much anxiety and fear that he became unconscious."
Rafique's family went to Thailand with other members of the Rohingya community in hopes of starting a new life. Rafique was captured and held for a year before he eventually resettled in the U.S.