Two men who were evacuated from Afghanistan have been arrested at an army base in Wisconsin.
The cases are unrelated, according to a statement from the Justice Department on Wednesday.
Bahrullah Noori, 20, was charged with attempting to engage in a sexual act with a minor using force against that person, and with three counts of engaging in a sexual act with a minor, with one count alleging the use of force.
According to the indictment, the victims are at least four years younger than Noori. They are also all under the age of 16.
Mohammad Haroon Imaad, 32, allegedly strangled and suffocated his wife on Sept. 7.
In the criminal complaint, Imaad’s wife said he “beat me many times in Afghanistan to the point I lost vision in both eyes.”
“She stated that she had been the victim of hitting, strangulation, verbal abuse as well as rape since arriving at Fort McCoy at the hands of Mohammad Imaad,” the complaint says.
The Wisconsin Justice Department says that “if convicted, Noori faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 30 years and a maximum of life in federal prison on the charges alleging use of force, and a maximum penalty of 15 years on the other two charges. Imaad faces a maximum penalty of 10 years. The charges against them are the result of investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fort McCoy Police Department.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Taylor Krausnd and Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Corey will handle the prosecution of Noori and Imaad respectively.
They were arraigned on Sept. 23 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen L. Crocker.
“The incidents appear to be the first instances of significant crimes on U.S. soil by any of the more than 60,000 Afghan evacuees, many of whom worked with U.S. service members in Afghanistan, who are making their way into the country,” per Military.com. “The Department of Defense has, in the past, dealt with instances of child sexual abuse perpetrated by Afghan people who worked closely with U.S. forces.”
Sexual and domestic violence are not commonly reported in Afghanistan because of cultural norms, according to a United Nations report. Incidents are considered private family matters.