Indian man charged with sexual abuse while working on U.S. base in Afghanistan

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An Indian national arrived in the United States Nov. 17, 2019, after being ordered detained and removed to the U.S. for the alleged sexual assault of a U.S. national on a military base in Afghanistan.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and other officials involved in the investigation  made the announcement regarding Lokesh Naik, 35, of India.

Naik was charged by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia on Nov. 6, 2019, with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact.  The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. military authorities in Afghanistan arrested Naik on Nov. 8, 2019, and his initial appearance was held before U.S. Magistrate Judge Harvey via video teleconference, a press release from the Justice Department said. At that time Naik was ordered detained and removed to the United States pursuant to the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA).  Naik arrived at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurston by a military transport aircraft in the custody of Deputy U.S. Marshals.

According to the indictment, on Aug. 7, while working as an employee of a U.S. military contractor on Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan, Naik allegedly entered the room of a 24-year-old U.S. national and sexually assaulted her by force.

Trial Attorney Jay Bauer of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Hertzfeld of the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and the FBI’s Washington Field Office are investigating the case.

According to the Justice Department, the Department of Defense, United States Central Command, U.S. Forces – Afghanistan, and the U.S. Marshals Service provided “invaluable” assistance with Naik’s transfer to civilian custody and removal to the United States. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also assisted with the case, the press release said.

 

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