LACONIA — A Batchelder Street man has asked a Belknap County Superior Court judge to suppress statements he made to police during an interview about an alleged rape complaint because he doesn't speak or understand English.
In a motion filed by Fatmir Gasi, 52, of 72 Batchelder Street by his attorney, Gasi, a Bosnian refugee whose first language is Albanian, said he didn't understand enough English to understand his Miranda rights.
Gasi was arrested on a warrant on January 19, 2014, shortly after he allegedly raped and choked a female acquaintance at his home on January 17 or 18. He was indicted in March of 2014.
According to the motion filed in court, Gasi was taken into an interrogation room by a single male police officer for questioning. Portions of the interrogation were recorded but the beginning, where the officer read Gasi his rights and obtained a signed waiver were not.
"It should have been apparent to anyone conversing with the accused that English is not his first language, and that, while he speaks conversational English to a degree, he is far from fluent in the language," wrote attorney Steve Mirkin.
Mirkin said once the tape was turned on, the officer went through a cursory explanation of Gasi's rights end even then Gasi has difficulty understanding them.
He said much of the interview is characterized by the officer repeatedly getting the accused to clarify answers that were not responsive to the questions he asked, or which the officer himself didn't understand.
At some point after the interview and during the transcription process, the transcriptionist eventually gave up trying to understand Gasi's statements. Mirkin also noted that in a previous trial against Gasi for a different matter, he required an Albanian translator for all proceedings.
Mirkin said that in this case there is "no record of a careful and methodical Miranda warning," no indication that Gasi understands English, and no indication that he understood he was knowingly, willingly, and intelligently waiving his right to have an attorney present at his questioning.
A hearing on the motion is scheduled for this week.