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Mahamu Drisa Kanneh
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Outlaw
    (May 19, 1984- )
    Born in Monrovia, Liberia
    Resided in Guyana as a refugee
    Received asylum in the United States (September 2001)
    Resided in Gaithersburg, Maryland
    Charged with the rape of his seven year old niece and the molestation of his eighteen month old niece (August 2003- September 2004)
    Charges were dismissed due to unavailability of an interpreter of Kanneh's West African Vai tribal language(July 17, 2007)
    He was said to lack adequate knowledge of English, although he spent part of his life in the predominately English speaking nations of Liberia and Guyana.
    Despite allegedly lacking English fluency, he was able to graduate high school in the United States, attend an American community college and hold various jobs in the country.
    A former neighbor stated that there was no language barrier when he communicated with Kanneh.
    When he was first arrested, he spent only one night in jail and was released on $10, 000 bond.
    His trial date was repeatedly extended due to his demand for an interpreter during trial after a psychiatrist advised him to have one.
    Some language translators were appointed but for various reasons did not remain on the case.
    His case was dismissed partly due to the lack of a speedy trial, despite his waiver of speedy trial rights to allow further DNA examination.
    The ruling dismissing the case was reversed, but afterward he fled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was later arrested there.
    His native tribal Vai language is spoken by about 100,000 people, mostly in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
    After he was returned to Maryland, a petition was created requesting to deny him bond due to possible flight risk (August 2007).
    The competency and wisdom of the judge who dismissed the case was criticized.
    There was concern from and action taken by the public, along with child welfare advocates regarding the case and its circumstances.

Credit: Pr31wnb


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