Abdi Hersy plans to appeal termination of refugee status
Prominent voice in Calgary's Somali community wanted on outstanding sex assault charges
High-profile Calgary Imam Abdi Hersy, who is wanted in the U.S. on outstanding sex assault charges, says he plans to appeal a ruling after he was stripped of his refugee protection status.
The Immigration and Refugee Board decided to terminate Hersy's refugee status after a hearing was held behind closed doors at its office in Calgary on June 2.
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"He is in a bit of a legal limbo right now," said his lawyer Raj Sharma. "He is no longer a refugee or a protected person, but he can't be removed yet either."
Sharma says his client still has legal options.
"He is disappointed in the decision," said Sharma. "He will be filing an application before the Federal Court this week."
Accusations date back to 2006
Hersy is accused of sexually assaulting two female patients while working as a respiratory therapist in Minnesota in 2006.
He lost his job and his licence soon after the reports surfaced. Then he crossed the border into Canada. Despite the charges, Hersy was granted protection as a Somalian refugee in 2008.
The Canadian Border Services Agency tried to strip him of that status two years ago, saying he had misrepresented himself.
The Immigration and Refugee Board agreed, but Hersy successfully appealed the decision in Federal Court. Something his lawyer says he hopes to do again.
'It's not over yet'
"It's not over yet," said Sharma. "We don't lightly send people back to where they could potentially have a risk to their lives. So, we have to get this right and that's why we have the Federal Court."
Hersy denies the allegations and says he has not been able to clear his name because of immigration issues.
In September 2010, he crossed the border back into Minnesota and surrendered to the sheriff's office, but when he was released on bail, U.S. immigration officials deported him back to Canada.