Slavery is alive an well in Islam. via Modesto man accused of holding wife captive appears in court | Crime | Modesto Bee. h/t Refugee Resettlement Watch (go there)
A man accused of holding his wife captive for five months inside a Modesto home appeared in court Tuesday afternoon for the first time since his arrest Sunday.
Fnu Masehullah, 26, has been charged with false imprisonment and attempting to prevent a victim or witness from reporting a crime, both felonies, along with a misdemeanor count of battery on his spouse.
Authorities believe Mohammad Idrees, Masehullah’s brother, assisted in holding the woman captive, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday. Idrees is charged with felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor battery on his brother’s wife.
The couple is the product of an arranged marriage, authorities say, and the two appear to be from Afghanistan.
The complaint indicates the woman was held captive from Sept. 1 through Sunday, when Modesto police found her in north Modesto. Officers responded after a report of a fight between two people at the Marshalls store shopping center at McHenry and Standiford avenues.
The dispute was apparently between Masehullah’s wife and his brother. Authorities said the woman was found wearing a robe and a traditional Middle Eastern head covering.
The officers were directed to the couple’s home, where they found a belt used to tie up the woman. Authorities said the woman was fed once a day while held captive.
Masehullah entered the courtroom Tuesday afternoon wearing a gray and black striped jail inmate jumpsuit with shackles on his wrists and ankles. He appeared for his arraignment hearing without an attorney and seemed somewhat confused about the proceedings.
Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge David Vanderwall asked Masehullah if he understood the criminal charges against him. The defendant said he understood the copy of the criminal complaint handed to him, but he wasn’t paying attention when he was shown a video advising him of his rights.
Masehullah then told the judge, “I need O.R,” which is a reference to a common request by jail inmates to be released from custody on their own recognizance while their cases are pending. Vanderwall immediately denied Masehullah’s request.
The defendant told the judge that he had just started working at a gas station and can hire his own attorney. But the judge appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Masehullah in the meantime. Vanderwall postponed the arraignment until Masehullah’s next court appearance Monday.
The judge also arranged to have a court-appointed Farsi interpreter appear with Masehullah in court next week to ensure he understands his rights and the judicial process.
Deputy District Attorney Beth O’Hara Owen tried to ask the court to increase the defendant’s bail, but Vanderwall stopped her because that courtroom does not have a court reporter to record such arguments. The judge, however, did increase Masehullah’s bail from $50,000 to $80,000 in accordance with the charges listed in the criminal complaint.
While trying to clarify the charges for the judge, Owen told the judge that prosecutors believe Masehullah threatened to kill his wife if she told police.
Vanderwall ordered Masehullah to stay away from the woman if he posts bail and is released from custody. As of Tuesday evening, Masehullah remained at the jail.
His co-defendant, Idrees, 28, has been released on bail since his arrest Sunday. His arraignment hearing had not been scheduled.
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