India

Tanveer Hussain: Indian athlete held over sex abuse in US

Tanveer Hussain
Image caption Tanveer Hussain participated in the 2017 world snowshoe championship

A snowshoe athlete from Indian-administered Kashmir has been arrested in the US on charges of sexually abusing a minor girl.

Tanveer Hussain, 24, has been remanded in jail in Saranac Lake, New York, where he participated in the 2017 world snowshoe championship.

Mr Hussain was initially denied a visa, but managed to travel after campaigning by US activists and senators.

His attorney has entered a not-guilty plea for him.

Saranac Lake police department said that the charges against Mr Hussain, which include endangering the welfare of a child, stem from him engaging in a "passionate kiss with the 12-year-old victim".

"There was no accusation of force. The charges are a result of the age difference of the individuals," the AP news agency quoted the police as saying.

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The police department added that the assault happened on Monday in a village in the Adirondack Mountains.

He was arrested after the girl and her parents lodged a complaint with police, Mr Hussain's lawyer said.

Mr Hussain reached the US after intense lobbying by activists, including Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau.

Students from Saranac Lake Middle School also wrote to Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to get a visa for the athlete.

Mr Hussain was eventually allowed to resubmit his visa application, which was approved by the US embassy in Delhi.

His family members told the Indian Express that said they "were shocked on learning of his arrest".

"But thankfully, legal aid has been provided to him," Younis Ali, his younger brother, said.

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