Indictments returned in emotionally charged sexual assault case
Sep 27, 2020 6:00 am
Aliya Schneider is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media a Columbia County Grand Jury September 25, handed up indictments for first-degree sexual abuse against Hudson resident Mohammed Ali. The indictments come less than two months after he was charged with other sexual-assault offenses. The most recent indictments originated with an incident involving alleged sexual contact with a child under the age of 11 during the summer of 2014. Ali’s attorney, Michael Howard, requested that Columbia County Court Judge Richard Koweek prevent video from being recorded during the proceedings, because footage has been used by Bengali news outlets and has stirred up members of the Bengali community "in an inappropriate fashion," Howard said. Following the hearing, District Attorney Paul Czajka took local politicians to task, accusing them of politicizing the case, by taking advantage of the provisions of the rape shield law, which protects a victim's identity, for their own political purposes, he said. During the September 15 Hudson Common Council meeting, Quintin Cross asked individual council members to express their thoughts on the charges, Czajka added. Cross said that supporting the victims does not remove the presumption of innocence “I stand with the victims,” Cross said. At the meeting the only two representatives to decline an indication of support for the young victims were 3rd Ward Alderperson Shershah Mizan and 2nd Ward Alderperson Dewan Sarowar. Both have said the case will be decided in the courts. Second Ward Supervisor Abdus Miah likewise declined. He said, “This makes me very unhappy...I don’t want to see a bad thing like that happen to anybody,” he said. “I’m not supporting Mohammed Ali or [an alleged victim in Ali’s case] until the court decides.” Read more at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.