Abduction charges dropped against George Mason student in library dispute

By Daniel de Vise
Thursday, March 17, 2011; 1:38 PM

George Mason University officials said Wednesday that charges have been dropped against Abdirashid Dahir, the senior who was charged with felony abduction after allegedly locking a fellow student in a library study room.

Dahir maintained the other student fabricated the story in order to make trouble for him because he is an immigrant. An online campaign sought to clear his name and investigate the role of the campus police in his arrest.

University officials said in a statement that they would investigate and make the findings public.

Dahir, who is 25 and originally from Somalia, said he staked out a study room in the university's Fenwick Library and left his belongings there while he left to fetch his laptop computer charger. He said he returned to find the unidentified woman in the room. Neither would budge.

She called campus police and, when they arrived, said Dahir had locked her in the room. Police apparently believed her, although they waited several hours to arrest Dahir in his residence hall. He faced a charge of abduction, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

A written account by Dahir and a classmate posted on Facebook spawned a petition, collecting nearly 3,000 signatures. It also prompted a protest from the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington.

"If there is another side to this story, it's not being told," said Ibrahim Hooper, a council spokesman.

Dahir declined to comment on the incident Wednesday afternoon. He and his accuser were interviewed on the George Mason campus Tuesday. A university official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said both stood by their stories and no independent witness could be located.

© 2011 The Washington Post Company