Somali refugee gets 20 years in Vermont child rape case

Update June 4th: I see that Brenda Walker writing at Limits to Growth has more on this story.

His lawyer had the nerve to suggest that he should be excused because Somali culture (religion?)* somehow views child rape differently than we do!  Ahhhhhh!

Here is the whole short story from WCAX in Burlington, VT:

Ali Abdi, a leader in the Somal Bantu community in Burlington, was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years to life in prison for sexual assault on a nine year old girl, despite pleas to the judge from two of his children.

Abdi had taken off during his trial, and was captured out of state. [Update: here is the older story when he fled Vermont.]  The jury was not told he ran away. He was convicted.

Abdi’s lawyer argued that the case has to be viewed as different from others, because Abdi comes from a different cultural background. Erik Smart told the judge that Abdi fled Somalia and spent thirteen years in a refugee camp before arriving in Burlington. Smart says the Somali Bantu community has forgiven Abdi.

“I would venture to say this community views this crime differently than our own community would,” Smart told the court.

Prosecutor Susan Hardin argued that cultural differences do not excuse a crime.

“It is critical that the Somali Bantu community and all the others in Chittenden County be sent a very clear message: if you sexually assault our children, there will be severe consequences,” Hardin said.

Two of Abdi’s children approached the bench to speak with the judge on their father’s behalf. But Judge Patricia Zimmerman sentenced Abdi to 20 years to life.

* Maybe just a coincidence but readers should know that Muhammad consummated his marriage to Aisha when she was 9 years old.

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