A Denver man was arrested Thursday on federal torture charges, accused of abusing political prisoners in his home country of Gambia, where he worked for a special military unit at the direction of the African nation’s president, according to court documents filed this month.
Michael Sang Correa, 41, was arrested in the case Thursday and was scheduled to appear before a magistrate judge at 2 p.m., according to court filings. Correa has been in custody at the Immigration Customs and Enforcement facility in Aurora since last year, when he was arrested on immigration charges.
A federal grand jury indicted Correa on June 2 on one count of conspiracy to commit torture and six counts of aiding and abetting torture. The statute in the case — which allows U.S. officials to prosecute foreign nationals residing in the U.S. for alleged crimes they committed elsewhere — had only been used twice before, U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn said at a news conference Thursday.
“I can not overstate the significance of these charges,” Dunn said.
Correa, a Gambian national, traveled to the United States in December 2016 to work as a bodyguard for the Gambian vice president, who was visiting the United Nations, Dunn said. When Gambian President Yahya Jammeh was voted out of office at that same time, Correa stayed in the U.S., and at some point moved to Denver, where he lived with his wife and worked as a day laborer, officials said.
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