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Man Claims Diplomatic Immunity, Fights Arraignment

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MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) – A jailed West Michigan man claimed to be a “sovereign citizen” and to have diplomatic immunity while refusing to allow himself to be arraigned on a resisting arrest and obstructing police charge.

Court documents state 36-year-old Muhhammad Abdel Hakeem was uncooperative Thursday and Friday as jail employees tried to get him before a Muskegon County 60th District Court magistrate, The Muskegon Chronicle reported.

Abdel Hakeem was placed on Monday’s arraignment list.

He was arrested Wednesday after a female utility worker called 911 to report being threatened while trying to disconnect natural gas service at his Muskegon home, northwest of Grand Rapids.

Abdel Hakeem also is accused of scuffling with officers responding to the call.

Jail workers told Judge Michael Nolan Friday that Abdel Hakeem said he would not speak with any government official.

In Michigan, arraignments are court appearances in which defendants are read the charges against them. They also are asked by magistrates or judges if they understand the charges. Judges can appoint attorneys to represent them.

A judge also can enter a “not guilty” plea for uncooperative defendants, said Timothy J. Maat, chief assistant Muskegon County prosecutor.

“At some point he can be arraigned without his consent,” Maat said. “He can’t do this indefinitely. The judge certainly has the discretion to say, `You’re in defiance, frankly in contempt of this court.”‘

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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