Hamtramck activist arrested in Mississippi to face trial on charges of sexual assault

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A community activist in Hamtramck who became a fugitive on the lam in the Deep South is set to face trial in the alleged sexual assault of a teenage student outside a school three years after a judge dismissed his case.

Ibrahim Aljahim, 40, was bound over last week to Wayne County Circuit Court after a recent preliminary exam in 31st District Court in Hamtramck in front of Judge Alexis Krot. In 2019, Krot dismissed the case due to what she said was a lack of evidence.

Related: Hamtramck community leader and school employee charged with sexually assaulting student

More: Hamtramck student details allegations of abuse by community activist

More: ​​​​​​​Judge dismisses sexual assault charges against Hamtramck activist

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy's office appealed after the judge's dismissal three years ago and reissued the charges March 31, Worthy spokeswoman Maria Miller said this week.

Aljahim faces two charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against a mentally disabled person.

Aljahim was notified of the arrest warrant, "but failed to turn himself in to police," Hamtramck Police said in a statement. The U.S. Marshals Service then arrested him in late June in Mississippi. Wayne County records show he is on a tether with $500,000 bond.

Ibrahim Aljahim hands out American flags during a Detroit demonstration in 2010. Aljahim, 37, is facing charges of criminal sexual conduct involving an 18-year-old male student at a school in Hamtramck. ANDRE J. JACKSON/Detroit Free Press
Ibrahim Aljahim hands out American flags during a Detroit demonstration in 2010. Aljahim, 37, is facing charges of criminal sexual conduct involving an 18-year-old male student at a school in Hamtramck. ANDRE J. JACKSON/Detroit Free Press

Aljahim was the community liaison at Oakland International Academy's high school in Hamtramck at the time of the alleged incident. The student had testified that Aljahim performed oral sex on him and he performed oral sex on Aljahim while they were in a car near the school in September 2019.

Miller did not say what new evidence prompted the prosecutor's office to reissue the charges. Prosecutors said in court during a preliminary examination that DNA evidence from the victim links the attack to Aljahim, the Arab American News reported. The victim, who is mentally disabled, was 18 at the time of the attack.

Aljahim could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Roger Farinha, did not comment this week. In 2019, Farinha said Aljahim did not assault the teenager and was actually trying to help him after he was abused by other students whom Farinha said molested him and took explicit photos.

Farinha said Aljahim reported the alleged abuse by other students to the school's principal. Farinha added that testimony and video footage recorded the day of the incident showing Aljahim and the student in the school indicates that there would not be enough time for a sexual act to have taken place in the car.

"Ibrahim did his job in protecting the children," Farinha said in 2019.

Aljahim was active in politics and community advocacy in metro Detroit, often in support of Democratic candidates and Arab American and Muslim interests.

Aljahim was hired as the school's community liaison because he was well-known in the Yemeni American community of Hamtramck, said the school's dean of students in court in 2019. A majority of students at the school are of Yemeni descent, he said.

Aljahim was "in a position of authority over the victim," Worthy's office said in an earlier statement. "It is alleged that on September 18, 2019, Aljahim had inappropriate sexual contact with an 18-year-old male student on school property during school hours."

His next court date is set for Aug. 25, when he faces an arraignment before Wayne County Judge Bridget Hathaway at 9 a.m.

Contact Niraj Warikoo: nwarikoo@freepress.com or Twitter @nwarikoo

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Hamtramck activist to face trial in sexual assault