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Suspected international rapist faces trial in Orange County

An Afghan national and one-time Orange County resident suspected of being an international serial rapist faces trial Thursday on charges that he sexually assaulted three Southern California women, the Orange County district attorney’s office said.

Ali Achekzai, 33, formerly of Ladera Ranch, is charged with numerous felony counts, including two of forcible rape, two of sexual penetration by foreign object by force, one of aggravated assault and one of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense. He also faces sentencing enhancements and allegations of committing sexual crimes against more than one victim and causing great bodily injury to a victim, prosecutors said.

The crimes allegedly were committed in Orange and San Diego counties.

Achekzai was captured in Austria in January 2010 after his DNA was matched through Interpol.

In one attack that occurred in January 2004, Achekzai is accused of meeting a 21-year-old woman at a Laguna Beach nightclub, luring her outside and then forcibly raping her inside her own vehicle.

In a second attack that took place in May 2004, prosecutors said Achekzai hit, punched and raped another 21-year-old woman after inviting her to take a walk through a dark park at Mount Soledad in San Diego County. He also allegedly threatened to kill the woman if she told anyone about the rape, officials said.

Prosecutors accused Achekzai of groping a third woman who he intended to sexually assault inside a limousine in October 2002.

All three victims reported the offenses to authorities, but Achekzai fled the country before he could be charged, prosecutors said. He is accused of illegally fleeing to Canada, and is said to have lived in several countries, including Austria, England and Germany. He is accused of changing his name several times and obtaining identification under the assumed names.

If convicted on all counts, prosecutors said Achekzai faces a maximum sentence of 68 years and four months to life in state prison.

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-- Ann M. Simmons

 
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