September 20, 2017
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Judge dismisses assault charge against Somali refugee over question of birthday


PORTLAND, Maine — A judge has dismissed a sexual assault charge against a Somali refugee after ruling that prosecutors didn’t prove he was an adult.

Mohammed Mukhtar of Portland was charged after he allegedly broke into an apartment in May and assaulted a woman who lived there.

Prosecutors said documents showed Mukhtar was born on Jan. 1, 1994, which would make him 18. Police said he gave his age as 18 when he was interviewed.

But Mukhtar’s attorney successfully argued that he was born on Oct. 25, 1994, making him 17. He said the U.S. government assigned Mukhtar and his six siblings and mother a Jan. 1 birth date when they fled Somalia.

Prosecutors told the Portland Press Herald they could pursue the case through the juvenile court system.

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