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Abdi Hersy, Imam Wanted On U.S. Sex Assault Charges, Seeks To Clear Name

03/11/2015 09:23 EDT | Updated 05/11/2015 05:59 EDT
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A high-profile Calgary imam accused of sexually assaulting two women before he was granted refugee protection in Canada says he is innocent and wants to face the charges in the U.S.

Abdi Hersy defended himself Tuesday night after a CBC News investigation revealed there is an active arrest warrant for him in the United States.

The 46-year-old imam is accused of fondling two patients when he worked as a respiratory therapist in the Twin Cities suburb of Woodbury, Minn., in 2006.

He is facing six charges of criminal sexual conduct and criminal abuse.

In front of a large crowd of supporters at the Abu Bakr mosque, Hersy said he is innocent and stated his side of the story.

"I want to clear my name, clearly, I want to clear my name," he said.

Hersy says he has tried to go back to the United States four times to deal with the charges, but has been repeatedly turned away.

“Let me in! Let me answer the charges if you have anything against me,” he said.

Hersy, who is a Somali national, has refugee protection status in Canada.

The Refugee Board of Canada stripped him of it in 2013 in light of the active warrant for his arrest south of the border.

But Hersy successfully challenged the decision in Federal Court and kept his status.

The Canada Border Services Agency might try again to nullify his refugee status at another hearing, but there is no word on when that decision will be made.

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