Calgary imam wanted on sex charges in U.S., to stay in Canada

Calgary imam wanted on sex charges in U.S., to stay in Canada
Calgary imam wanted on sex charges in U.S., to stay in Canada

A high-profile Calgary imam, wanted in the United States on sexual assault charges, will get another shot at keeping his refugee status in Canada.

- MORE CALGARY NEWS | Calgary Syrian refugees get bus-based dental care

- MORE CALGARY NEWS | Inn from the Cold suspends community inn operations

A federal court judge has granted Abdi Hersy a judicial review, after his protected status was revoked last year. The imam's case will return to the Refugee Board of Canada for reconsideration.

Hersy is accused of fondling two female patients while he was working in 2006 as a respiratory therapist in Minnesota.

He lost his job and his licence to practice in Minnesota soon after the reports surfaced. Hersy then crossed the border into Canada, and was given protection as a Somalian refugee in 2008.

In its ruling last year, the refugee board found Hersy had misrepresented himself.

But Raj Sharma has successfully appealed, arguing the allegations against his client are unproven, and that Hersy's life would be at risk if he were deported back to Somalia.

"He has never had a trial and the fact that the U.S. chose not to prosecute, to deport and not to extradite is something that should always be borne in mind," said Sharma.

The federal court decision includes details about Hersy's alleged victims. One woman who came forward was homeless and had sought out medical help for a drug addiction.

Hersy denies the allegations.

He returned to Minnesota in 2010 in an attempt to answer the charges, but when he was released on bail U.S. immigration officials deported him back to Canada.

Crown prosecution lawyer, Galina Bining, argued that Hersy did not try to deal with the charges, until it became obvious they would affect his residence in Canada.