Asylum seeker Mohammad Salem Nazari to appear in court charged with sex attacks in Olympic Park Aquatic Centre
AN Afghan asylum seeker who has been in Australia for less than six months has had his bridging visa revoked after being accused of groping a group of teenage girls at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.
Mohammad Salem Nazari, 33, is accused of indecently assaulting seven girls in the Rapid River Ride whirlpool at the popular swimming pool in a 25-minute period after 4pm on Sunday.
Nazari, who was living in a Parramatta unit and is from the Hazara ethnic group in Afghanistan, is the 31st asylum seeker facing criminal charges to have his bridging visa cancelled under tough new rules announced by the Coalition government in October.
The girls reported the alleged groping to pool security and after police reviewed CCTV footage, Nazari was arrested and taken to Auburn Police Station.
Nazari is facing five counts of indecent assault of a person under 16 years of age for five girls, two aged 14 and three 15, which carries a maximum 10-year jail term.
He also faces two counts of assault with an act of indecency for two 18-year-olds, which carries a five-year maximum term.
His Legal Aid lawyer Peter Allport told Burwood Local Court yesterday his client spoke no English and required a Dari interpreter. Dari is a Persian language spoken in Afghanistan, one of the country's two official languages.
The case was adjourned until tomorrow so an interpreter could be present and Nazari was refused bail.
Immigration staff interviewed Nazari yesterday while he was in custody. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's office confirmed Nazari's visa had been cancelled and court papers said he was the "subject of an immigration hold" should he be granted bail.
This would mean if he is granted bail by the court he would go into immigration detention while the case is heard as he has no visa to live in the community.
ACT! update: Nazari is accused of grabbing the girls around the waist, touching their thighs, bottoms and breasts over a span of 25 minutes. He is now claiming it was an "accident" because he is a poor swimmer.