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Assam’s land sale ban between Hindus and Muslims may be unconstitutional – but it's happening anyway

Sanidul Islam, a 25-year-old driver living in Barpeta in Assam bought a small parcel of land in 2019. But actually registering the sale became a nightmare. The reason: an unofficial bar on Hindus selling land to Muslims in Assam. “I can’t count how many times my father went to the circle office,” Islam told Scroll. “But every time he got the same reply. They say that Muslims are not allowed to buy land from Hindus anymore. After the Himanta government came, it became an unofficial rule and the registration was totally stopped. We are under lots of stress.” On March 7, the Assam government made this practice legal, issuing a notification that prohibited the sale of land between people from different religious communities for the next three months. According to the notification, the Assam government had received intelligence inputs of “several cases of attempt of transfer of land by fraudulent means” in the state due to which land has been forcibly transferred “to some religious communities from some other religious communities”. The notification also alleged that such transfers are aimed at stoking communal tensions in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. According to legal experts, this notification is unconstitutional for discriminating on the grounds of religion. However, in spite of that, the bar on the sale of land between people from different religious communities has existed for some time now on the ground. Background Land is an emotive issue in Assam, intertwined with the state’s identity politics around language and religion. Assamese nationalist groups have always expressed anxiety that the so-called outsiders are usurping the land of so-called natives. In 2016, the Bharatiya Janata Party made the protection of land one of its main poll planks, with the slogan jati (nation), maati (soil), bheti (hearth). After it came to power, few Muslims got the land under the Assam government’s flagship scheme, Mission Basundhara, which allows the state to regularise land held by cultivators and other occupants without land titles. Unofficial policy Hasmat Ali, a 53-year-old resident of Ghugubari village in Lower Assam’s Barpeta district, used to live in Char Charia village, at the bank of the river Beki, a tributary of the Brahmaputra that flows through Barpeta. However, Ali’s house was washed away by the floods and erosion in the monsoon in 2000 and his family had to take refuge at the Ghugubari village grazing pasture – government-controlled land – about 4 km away. After becoming landless and staying for 19 years in a government land, where he consistently faced fear of eviction, Ali finally bought 0.621 acres of land with Rs 6 lakh from Manoranjan Pathak, a resident of Ghugubari village. “I was working day and night as a daily wage labourer to gather and save this huge amount of money to buy the land,” Ali, who now works as a carpenter, told Scroll. Ali paid Rs 5.65 lakh on January 20, 2019 and the remaining money on February 8. Both Ali and Pathak signed in a stamp paper in which details of the purchase were mentioned. Scroll has seen the copy of the stamped sale agreement. “The land owner already gave us the full possession of the land after we made the full payment,” Ali told Scroll. “We have been staying here since then and already built the houses.” However, Ali has not managed to register the piece of land despite his repeated attempts even after five years. His multiple visits to the local revenue circle office did not yield any results. “Whenever we went to the office to apply for the NOC [no objection certificate] for the transfer of land from the owner to us, they told us that the registration of land is not allowed anymore if the buyer is a Muslim and the seller is a Hindu,” Ali said. This has left families like Ali’s and Islam’s as well as hundreds of others who have been facing difficulties to register their purchased land despite paying money to the previous owners in a lurch and a vulnerable situation. They can be asked to vacate the land on which they built their house since it is not in their name. “Do we have to live in this land like this forever without any legal documents? Ali lamented. “On paper, we are still landless. When will this harassment end? We don’t know what will happen and what will we do.”. However, he said that some Muslims, who had connections and money, managed to do registration with the help of “third-party people”, referring to the land brokers. “They paid Rs 1 lakh to register the land,” he said. “But we don’t have the money to pay the officials.” Islam said he had submitted all kinds of documents which are needed to purchase and transfer the land in their name. He also mentioned an alleged nexus of officials and brokers, a repeated allegation heard by Scroll whenever it visited circle officials. “Without paying money, your file will not move from a single table in the Barnagar circle office,” Islam said. “From the clerk to the Lot Mandal [a state revenue department officer] and including the senior officials, everyone takes bribes in order to register land. We purchased the land with Rs. 6 lakh. Do we have to bribe Rs. 6 lakh more to register the land? There are hundreds of people like me who are suffering.” Senior Barpeta district official Khanindra Das, the additional deputy commissioner who looks after the revenue department, told Scroll, “I don’t know anything about it,” when asked about the struggle and difficulties faced by Ali and Islam to register the land. “Now, it is officially banned for three months as there is a notification issued by the governor,” Das said. “I don’t know if they will be allowed to buy it after three months.” Unconstitutional prohibition? Delhi-based senior advocate Mohan Katarki called the notification “ex facie unconstitutional” – that is, unconstitutional on the face of it – for being vague and not based on any hard evidence. He said that it also violates Article 15(1) of the Constitution for prohibiting sale on the grounds only of religion. “How does the sale of land between consenting parties affect the security of the state?,” he asked. “If a transfer of land may lead to potential tension, the parties themselves will refrain from engaging in that sale,” he added. Guwahati-based lawyer and former sub-judicial magistrate in the Assam Judicial Service Sarfraz Nawaz told Scroll that the only prohibition on sale of land allowed in Assam is that between tribal and non-tribal communities, which is constitutionally permitted by the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Nawaz referred to many recent cases of land being fraudulently sold, with connivance of revenue authorities, in the state. Several arrests of the public officers and advocates involved have also been made in some of such cases in the last few months in Guwahati, he said. However, it is hard to say that this could be correlated with the notification, he said. “This goes against fundamental rights in Part III of the Constitution,” he said. Advocate Haamim KJ Ahmed, who practises at the Guwahati High Court, termed the notification “unreasonable”. He acknowledged that satra land, that is, land belonging to Vaishnavite monasteries, in the state had come under illegal encroachment over the years and the state government had recently been making efforts to clear squatters. However, such encroachments are not found to have been made solely by members of any particular religious community. “It is difficult to understand how stopping the sale of land among members of different religious communities would stop such encroachment,” he said. Ahmed called the notification a “political gimmick”. On whether it may be struck down by courts, he said that “since the bar is based on intelligence reports’, it may be justified by the government on the ground of sovereignty and integrity of the country.” Katarki pointed out that since the ban is only for three months, which is a short period, the state may defend it on the basis that no material injury will be caused. However, according to him, “this will hurt members of all religious communities”. Parallels to Disturbed Areas Act in Gujarat Currently, there is no similar law or rule in place elsewhere in India that outlaws the transfer of land between members of different religious communities. The closest parallel can be seen in Gujarat, where the Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Property and Provision for Protection of Tenants from Eviction from Premises in Disturbed Areas Act, 1991 has been used to effectively proscribe the transfer of land between Hindus and Muslims. Experts have held that the law has led to communal segregation and distortion of the land market. The act empowers the government to declare specific areas as “disturbed” if there is a risk of communal riots or heightened communal tensions. In such designated areas, anyone wanting to sell their property needs prior approval from the district collector. Currently, large parts of Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara – the three biggest cities in the state –as well as several smaller towns, are notified as “disturbed”. While the act doesn’t directly prohibit property sales between Hindus and Muslims, it creates a system that demonstrably has this effect in practice. As a result, Hindu sellers are disincentivised from approaching Muslim buyers, even if they offer a competitive price. Challenges to the validity of the act are pending before the Gujarat High Court. The High Court had in 2021 effectively stayed certain amendments to the act made by the state government in 2020 under which the government could have used religious grounds to declare a disturbed area.

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Seven dead after car bomb tears through market in Azaz, Syria

The number of migrants attempting to enter the US from Mexico hs been increasing in recent years. More than 6.3 million migrants have entered the US illegally since 2021. The number began to rise in 2018, largely driven by Central Americans fleeing a series of complex crises including gang violence, poverty, political repression and natural disasters.

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Man Utd news: Erik ten Hag handed warning as Sir Jim Ratcliffe concerns become clear

Manchester United are running out of time to secure qualification after suffering another setback over the weekend. United thought they had snatched victory at Brentford when Mason Mount opened his account for the club in second-half stoppage-time. It wasn’t to be, though, with Kristoffer Ajer delivering an even later equaliser for the Bees. Results elsewhere mean Erik ten Hag’s team ended the weekend 11 points adrift of fourth spot, albeit with a game in hand. Fourth-placed Aston Villa and fifth-placed Tottenham were both victorious, though Spurs’ win against Luton wasn’t without its nervy moments. United are back in action against Chelsea on Thursday, with their top four rivals in action earlier in the week. Here, Mirror Football has the latest lines from around Old Trafford. Ten Hag told he’s in big trouble Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville has fired a warning to Erik ten Hag after the weekend’s action. It wasn’t just the result at Brentford which worried Neville, but also the performance, especially with a game against Liverpool on the horizon. “Just worrying signs really that you can get to that level of low in a performance,” the former England international said on The Gary Neville Podcast. “You think back to before the international break and where Manchester United were at. They had one of the most incredible moments and should be absolutely bouncing into Brentford. “But then we saw what we saw. They won’t be that bad next week, they can’t be that bad. But if Liverpool do their jobs next week then Manchester United are going to be in a lot of trouble. There will be something different, it can’t get any worse.” Two United performances worrying Ratcliffe United’s draw at Brentford is one of two recent displays to have concerned part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe as he decides whether or not to persist with Ten Hag. There have been positives this season, but also plenty of negatives for the former Ajax boss. Does Erik ten Hag deserve another year in charge? Have your say in the comments section According to The Telegraph, the performance in West London hasn’t gone down too well with Ratcliffe. It follows similar concerns after the home defeat to Fulham, where United scored a late equaliser but then conceded a stoppage-time winner to Alex Iwobi. Ten Hag is understood to be safe until the end of the season, having rebounded somewhat from a horror start to the season. A number of alternatives to the Dutchman have been considered, though, including England boss Gareth Southgate. Neville and Keane make feelings clear on title race Gary Neville joked that things had gone “from bad to worse” after seeing Liverpool become title favourites. The Sky Sports pundit learned Jurgen Klopp’s side were frontrunners according to a supercomputer, having moved top over the weekend. “Liverpool, as of today’s results I’d have them favourites, then I’d have Arsenal second favourites,” Keane said. “With their goal difference. City have got injuries, Champions League coming up. Same for Arsenal, so I think Liverpool. I see them as favourites.” Former Arsenal star Theo Walcott was also on punditry duty and, while he felt his old club are in good shape, recognised European distractions could play a part. “The Champions League is going to be very crucial, in terms of what sort of team he’s going to put out and how focused they will be,” he said. “City have got a better run-in if you look at the fixtures, but if you end up beating City this year you deserve to win this league. They can’t afford to lose to lesser teams.” Join our new WhatsApp communityand receive your daily dose of Mirror Football content. We also treat our community members to special offers, promotions, and adverts from us and our partners. If you don’t like our community, you can check out any time you like. If you’re curious, you can read ourPrivacy Notice.

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In BJP’s Dalit outreach campaign today, theme is ‘respect and welfare’

EVEN AS Apna Dal (K) and AIMIM have floated PDM Nyay Morcha, alleging neglect of backwards, Dalits and Muslims by both ruling as well as main opposition parties, the ruling BJP is set to roll out its campaign among the Scheduled Castes (SCs) in the state on Tuesday, claiming that it is the party that brought “respect and welfare” for them. The party’s Anusuchit Jati Morcha has also prepared for distribution 25-page booklets, which apart from listing the benefits given by the governments at the Centre and the state for SCs and how due respect has been given to B R Ambedkar by developing memorials to him, also mentions that the recently inaugurated International Airport in Ayodhya has been named after Maharishi Valmiki. “We have formed toli groups in 1,918 divisions across Uttar Pradesh, region-wise as well as Vidhan Sabha-wise. These groups will hold sammelans and distribute the booklets, exposing the opposition on their lies and talking about how work has been done for welfare of SCs in different BJP Governments,” shared Ramchandar Kanaujia, state president of the BJP’s Anusuchit Jati Morcha. As the campaign would start from April 2, the booklet, which has been named “BJP ki pehchan, Sewa aur samman”, how different beneficiary schemes such as Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, Ujjwala Yojna, Stand UP India etc have benefited Scheduled Castes. It alleges that while Congress failed to give due respect to Bhim Rao Ambedkar after Independence, it was BJP, which developed “Panch Teerth” associated with him. It talks about how Bharat Ratna was conferred to B R Ambedkar in 1990 due to the efforts of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee as well as L K Advani.

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Kolkata: Heatwave in south, storm alert in north

The maximum temperature touched 40 degrees Celsius in several southern parts of West Bengal on Monday, making the Met Department to issue a heat wave warning in various districts. While Bankura and Bishnupur recorded 40 degrees Celsius temperature, the maximum temperature in Bardhaman, Baharampur, Krishnanagar, Murshidabad and Sriniketan hovered around 35-26 degrees Celsius. Purulia, Medinipur and Panaghar recorded 38.5 degrees Celsius, according to the Met Department. Kolkata recorded a maximum temperature of 38 degrees Celsius on Monday afternoon. The Met issued yellow warning of “hot and discomfort days” till Tuesday for North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Purba Medinipur, Howrah, Hooghly, Kolkata, Purulia, Jhargram, Bankura, Paschim Medinipur, Purba Bardhaman, Paschim Bardhaman, Murshidabad and Nadia districts. The Met said heatwave will prevail at one or two places in Purulia, Jhargram, Paschim Medinipur, Bankura, Paschim Bardhaman districts till Friday. “Weather will remain dry with rising humidity. Further rise in day temperature by 2-4 degree Celsius is expected during the next 3 days,” said an official. Meanwhile in the northern part of the state, several areas received rain and thunderstorms. Following a thunderstorm leaving five people dead and over 100 injured in Jalpaiguri district on Sunday, the IMD issued orange alert for thunderstorms, lightning and gusty winds with speed reaching 40-50 kmph at one or two places in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts.

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Chicago man charged in Auburn Gresham slaying

A Chicago man is facing murder charges after he allegedly killed a 41-year-old man Saturday in Auburn Gresham, Chicago police said. Kevin Garrett, 18, faces a felony count of first-degree murder. He was arrested Sunday, police said. Garrett allegedly shot a man several times inside a home in the 8200 block of South Elizabeth Street shortly before 12:30 p.m. and police said he knew the victim. He fled the scene after the shooting, police said. The man who was shot was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. Garrett is set to appear in court Tuesday.

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How the Chicago Sun-Times is deciding what’s news — by soliciting your input

At Steinmetz College Prep’s Parent University in Belmont Cragin last week, community members argued compellingly for and against the Sun-Times stories they did (and didn’t) want to see on the cover of the newspaper the next day. One woman told us that she is tired of reading only about the “bulletin of failures” — especially all of the shootings and other crimes that the U.S. has failed to prevent. She voted for us to put a story about how Chicago organizations and volunteers are feeding migrants on the cover. “Everyone has to eat every day, and it’s expensive,” she said. “I want solutions. How could we all be helping?” Other community members who attended our public news meeting disagreed, with one concerned that the story would play into narratives about the costs of sheltering migrants without providing counterbalancing information about all the economic and other benefits the new arrivals to the city provide. One man argued strongly for our cover story to be about the new details we’d just received that afternoon in response to our public records requests about seven relatives killed in a shooting in Joliet and even suggested the headline we ended up using: “Daddy, why?” Two others said they were particularly interested in our story about higher chocolate prices at Easter, saying the rising food prices affect everyone. Two community members pushed us to showcase a WBEZ story explaining the Republican challenge to mail-in ballots in Illinois, tying it to the then-yet-uncalled state’s attorney race (“People are wondering what’s going on. This is Chicago!”) — while another person worried that playing the story too big would spark unwarranted fears. Hearing these different perspectives about what’s most important to our communities is why I and my colleagues were there at the latest of our “We Hear You” community listening sessions Thursday afternoon. At these events, Sun-Times and WBEZ journalists meet with neighbors one-on-one to hear their views. At Belmont Cragin, we also invited attendees to join the Sun-Times’ news meeting to help editors decide which stories would appear on Page One in the next day’s newspaper. In the end, attendees helped us select stories for not one, but three different covers for our newspapers, over the next several days — including our heartbreaking story featured on Tuesday’s front page about a frustrated mother who lost her 3-year-old son to gun violence in 2022, a case that is still unsolved. They also tipped us to story ideas and provided useful context to improve some of the stories we were working on. What matters most to Chicago is what matters most to us This ongoing conversation about what matters most to Chicago area residents — and how we can provide you with information that helps you and our communities thrive — is key to our editorial strategy. Staying connected to you is how we ensure our journalism remains relevant, essential and trusted. Perhaps that’s why when I think about the moments that have made me feel most fulfilled, they are all about connection. Last week, for instance, I delivered 200 copies of our latest bilingual La Voz section to eight community partners in Humboldt Park, met some 20 community members at our listening session in Belmont Cragin (which drew about 50 attendees) and received emails from a half-dozen readers who told us our stories had enriched their lives. When I think about what I most want the Sun-Times to accomplish, it’s not awards or big viral stories that attract huge amounts of traffic or many likes on social media, although all of that is welcome (OK, I was delighted about our 35 finalists for Peter Lisagor Awards announced Friday). What matters most is having meaningful impact on our communities and our democracy. So we’re constantly thinking about how factual, empathetic and independent journalism can be a generative resource to help Chicago area residents make informed decisions every day, participate in our diverse communities and make the most of our region. We see our impact in the flood of messages columnist Mary Mitchell received in response to her column about potential Medicare scams. One reader emailed last week to say that thanks to Mitchell’s reporting, she knew exactly what to do when her Medicare account was compromised. We also see signs of impact when community members trust us with their stories or give us news tips, or when anyone feels our work is worth supporting financially, or talking about or sharing with others. When our reporters ask questions that lead to $1 million in payments to the city, or alert readers to household products that put children at risk so they can protect their families, or uncover fraud to the tune of $1.2 million in pandemic relief money. When we report on improper campaign contributions that lead to their return, or provide tips for how to complain effectively about a consumer problem — and help a Wicker Park barber get $23,686 refunded from his phone bill. More than 4,000 stories and counting in 2024 All together, the Sun-Times has posted more than 4,100 stories since Jan. 1, which have informed 10 million visitors on our website alone. In response to what we’ve heard from you, we have changed and expanded our coverage, adding more solutions stories and “how to” stories, more perspectives and more context, and more uplifting, fun and inspiring stories into the mix as well. We’ve seen page views grow more than 40%, year over year, as more readers find more stories they want to read. We couldn’t have done it without you. If you want to make my day, here’s how you can participate: Come to one of our listening sessions and meet us in person (our next one will be in South Shore/Woodlawn in May; location and details to be announced soon!) Send us story ideas at tips@suntimes.comSubmit an op-ed or letter to the editorEmail me or others in the newsroom with your thoughts or questions ([first initial][last name]@suntimes.com)Engage with us via our social media channelsFacebook: @thechicagosuntimesInstagram: @chicagosuntimes X (formerly Twitter): @suntimesTikTok: @chicago.suntimes Subscribe to our newslettersAnd of course, you can always support us with a donation, a Sun-Times membership or a subscription to home delivery or our e-paper (if you haven’t already). Thanks for keeping yourself informed and for helping to make our work so rewarding.

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Mayor of Medellín, Colombia, bans prostitution in neighborhoods that are popular with tourists

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The mayor of Colombia’s second-largest city banned prostitution in some of the city’s most famous neighborhoods for six months Monday, arguing it was necessary to prevent the sexual exploitation of children. Medellín’s Mayor Federico Gutiérrez said the ban will be enforced in Provenza and El Poblado, two neighborhoods teeming with trendy bars and clubs and frequented by thousands of tourists. The neighborhoods have also become popular with sex workers who walk the streets in search of international clients. Gutiérrez said criminal networks are taking minors to these districts and forcing them into sex work. “We have to recover the control of this area,” Gutiérrez said at a news conference. “It is also very important for us to protect the community.” Sex work is legal in Colombia if it involves consenting adults. But local governments can ban this activity temporarily from parts of cities, if it is deemed a threat to public order. The Medellín prostitution ban comes just days after an American man was found in a hotel room with two local girls aged 12 and 13, in a case widely covered by local media. The 36-year-old was held in police custody for 12 hours, then released while officials investigated the case. Local media reported that he left Colombia and went to Florida. During Monday’s news conference, Gutiérrez urged Colombian authorities to speed up the investigation. “It is sad to see how many people believe they can come to Medellín and do whatever they want,” he said. Sex work has grown in Medellín as the city of 3 million people becomes increasingly popular with tourists, who head to Medellín for its balmy weather, affordable prices and festive atmosphere. While some tourists meet sex workers directly in the city’s streets, others are meeting them through dating apps and some of these encounters have turned violent. In January, the State Department issued a security alert on the risks of using dating apps in Medellín, after eight Americans were killed there in the prior two months. The alert said criminals were using dating apps to lure visitors to hotels, restaurants and bars where they were drugged, kidnapped or robbed. ___ Follow AP’s coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean at https://apnews.com/hub/latin-america

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Chiefs player Rashee Rice is cooperating with police after sports car crash in Dallas, attorney says

DALLAS (AP) — An attorney for Kansas City Chiefs player Rashee Rice said Monday that the wide receiver is cooperating with authorities after a speeding Corvette and Lamborghini sport utility vehicle caused a chain-reaction crash on a busy Dallas highway over the weekend. A total of six vehicles were involved in the crash shortly before 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the northbound lanes of North Central Expressway, Dallas police said Monday. The people in the Lamborghini and Corvette left the scene without determining if anyone needed medical attention or providing their information, police said. Two of the drivers in the other vehicles were treated at the scene for minor injuries, and two occupants of another vehicle were taken to a hospital with minor injuries. Dallas television station WFAA, citing unnamed sources, reported that one of the speeding vehicles was registered to Rice. Police said Monday morning that they were working to identify the occupants of the Corvette and Lamborghini but did not release any information about the people they were seeking and would not confirm reports that Rice was among them. Police spokesperson Kristin Lowman said early Monday evening that she could confirm that police had “spoken with members of legal counsel but have not conducted interviews with potentially involved individuals in Saturday’s crash.” State Sen. Royce West, an attorney for Rice, said in a statement Monday that his client’s thoughts were with everyone impacted by the accident and that he was cooperating with local authorities. West said in the statement that Rice “will take all necessary steps to address this situation responsibly.” Police said the drivers of the Corvette and Lamborghini were speeding in the far left lane when they lost control and the Lamborghini traveled onto the shoulder and hit the center median wall, causing the chain collision. Rice, a member of the Super Bowl-winning Chiefs team, is from the Dallas area. He played for Southern Methodist University and grew up in the Fort Worth suburb of North Richland Hills. Chiefs President Mark Donovan said in an interview Monday with KCMO Talk Radio’s “Mundo in the Morning” that the team will “react accordingly” once more is known about what happened. “In all these situations you have to wait until you have all the facts, and frankly, we don’t have all the facts at this point,” Donovan said. Lowman said law enforcement is asking anyone with information on the crash to contact police.

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Au pair, employer visited shooting range before Reston murder, witness says

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (DC News Now) — A judge found Monday that there is probable cause in the case against an au pair who is accused of murdering a man in Reston in February 2023. Fairfax County police arrested Juliana Peres Magalhaes months after the killing of Joseph Ryan, 39, of Springfield. Investigators said Peres Magalhaes, now 24, shot Ryan inside a home in the 13200 block of Stable Brook Way on Feb. 24, 2023. The home was that of Christine Banfield, 37, and her family. Peres Magalhaes was an au pair who worked there. Police officers found Ryan dead inside the house. Banfield, who had been stabbed, died at the hospital. In October 2023, the month of Peres Magalhaes’ arrest, the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said at the au pair’s bond hearing that Peres Magalhaes and Banfield’s husband, Brendan, had an affair. Prosecutors presented evidence in the form of pictures which showed Peres Magalhaes’ clothes in Brendan’s closet and the closet in her room empty. At the bond hearing, Peres Magalhaes’ lawyer told the judge that Banfield had gotten Peres Magalhaes tickets to take the Banfields’ 4-year-old child to the zoo. The lawyer said Christine Banfield made plans for Ryan to meet her at the home for sex, stating that the two met on some sort of website. Peres Magalhaes said she forgot the child’s lunch and went back to the house to get it. When she did, she said she way Ryan pull up and go into the house. Peres Magalhaes said she called Banfield’s husband who told her to wait and he would come home. Peres Magalhaes’ lawyer said Peres Magalhaes went into the house with Banfield’s husband and took the 4-year-old child to the basement. She supposedly dialed 911 at that point but didn’t know what to say to the emergency dispatcher, so she hung up. The lawyer said Peres Magalhaes left the basement and that she and Brendan heard some sort of interaction involving Banfield and Ryan above them. They weren’t sure if it was consensual or not. Peres Magalhaes said Brendan, who is a special agent for the IRS, pulled out his service weapon and went into the bedroom where he saw Ryan with a knife to Banfield’s throat. Peres Magalhaes’ lawyer said Brendan told Ryan to drop the knife and that Ryan, in turn, told Brendan to drop his gun. Ryan supposedly stabbed Banfield several times in her neck. Peres Magalhaes’ lawyer said Brendan shot Ryan in his head, not killing him, but in a way the medical examiner said would have blinded Ryan. The lawyer said Brendan told Peres Magalhaes to grab his gun, which she got out of a safe in the bathroom. Peres Magalhaes said Ryan started flailing around or posed a threat of some sort, possibly moving to get up off of the ground. Her lawyer said that’s when she shot Ryan, hitting him in the heart, and killing him. At a hearing on Monday, a judge found probable cause that Peres Magalhaes shot and killed Ryan. The charges against her were moved over to Fairfax County Circuit Court. Prosecutors will present them to a grand jury, which was set to meet on April 15. If indicted, a trial date for Peres Magalhaes will be set. A spokeswoman for the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said during the probably cause hearing, the manager of Silver Eagle Group shooting range testified that Peres Magalhaes and Brendan Banfield visited the shooting range twice together in the months prior to Ryan’s murder and that Brendan returned a month before the killing to buy a Glock. That gun was in the Banfields’ home the day of Ryan’s death, verified through the serial number. The spokeswoman for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said Brendan was called to testify at the hearing. He exercised his Fifth Amendment Right, protecting himself against self incrimination, and refused to answer “a few dozen questions.”

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