Local Resident Detained on Stalking Charges
HOUSTON – A 31-year-old citizen of Pakistan now residing in Houston has been ordered into custody for stalking, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
A federal grand jury indicted Afzal Arsalan Rehman April 10, 2019, and was taken into custody April 15. Today, U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Bray found that no condition or combination of conditions would reasonably assure Rehman’s appearance in court and ordered him into custody pending further criminal proceedings.
At the hearing that began last Thursday and concluded today, the court heard evidence about Rehman’s alleged systematic torture of a victim between October 2015 and June 2018. Rehman allegedly created a Facebook account on multiple occasions which he used to send images and messages to the victim’s family, friends and colleagues. During the online harassment of the victim, Rehman used images he had created via screen capture of Skype sessions between himself and the victim during their intimate romantic relationship, according to the allegations.
He also discovered where the victim worked and allegedly called her place of business numerous times in an attempt to get someone to transfer his calls. While mostly unsuccessful, on one occasion, Rehman told someone he was outside the business and “something bad” was going to happen, according to the allegations heard at the hearing.
The court also heard that Rehman had originally entered the United States on a student visa which was revoked in August 2017. He had been enrolled in college locally and allegedly used the wifi on campus occasionally to create the Facebook accounts. According to the information presented in court, these accounts were in the victim’s name and, at first, appeared to be very normal. However, they allegedly portrayed pictures of the victim at her wedding, then later devolved into the embarrassing and harassing images Rehman captured.
If convicted, Rehman faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri Zack is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.