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Child Abuse Levies in New Mexico Desert Junction Case



  Siraj Ibn Wahhaj
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, left, hears his defense attorney Tom Clark on August 28, 2018, at a hearing outside the Taos County Court in Taos County, New Mexico.
Eddie Moore / Reuters 19659004] TAOS, New Mexico (Reuters) – Two New Mexico judges on Wednesday reported child abuse allegations against five people from a desert complex near Taos, where a toddler's body was found procedural errors were cited by prosecutors.

The judges passed a child abuse charge in separate rulings of the 8th Circuit Court in New Mexico on the grounds that a preliminary hearing had not taken place within 10 days of their submission on 8 August.

Judge Jeff McElroy rejected child molestation charges against Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and his wife Jany Laveille. The two are brought to justice for the death of Wahhaj's three-year-old son Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, whose body was found earlier this month. Laveille, a Haitian national, is also being held for immigration fees.

Judge Emilio Chavez earlier ordered indictment against three other defendants, Subhannah Wahhaj; her husband, Lucas Morton; and sister Hujrah Wahhaj, and to be released from prison for them in Taos.

Chavez had given prosecutors a deadline of 2pm. (2000 GMT) Wednesday, to repeat the charges, a move that would have held these three defendants behind bars. The prosecutors had previously filed no charges, the court clerk.

The defendant Subhannah Wahhaj is sitting in front of Taos County Court in the state of Taos, New Mexico, on August 28, 2018, alongside her defender Megan Mitsunaga.
Eddie Moore / Reuters

"We must adhere to this rule and I must dismiss these charges," McElroy said, adding that the office of the eighth judicial district in Taos County is a basic one Did not comply with the procedural rule.

Prosecutor John Lovelace told the court that he believed "exceptional circumstances" to meet the inability of the defendant to meet bail requirements and imprisonment meant the 10-day rule did not apply in this case.

The prosecution said they would submit new evidence of a plea by the defendants to attack "corrupt institutions".

Defense lawyers say their clients have no records of criminal convictions and pose no risk to the public.

The five defendants were arrested after their police raid on August 3 at their makeshift camp in Amalia, New Mexico, after […] it was reported that 11 children were starving there. The children were placed in protective custody.

The body of missing 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj was found in a tunnel on the grounds three days later. The severely disabled boy was abducted by Wahhaj's first wife in Georgia and died on December 24, according to the office of the Taos County Sheriff.

(adaptation by Bill Tarrant and Leslie Adler)


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