Plea hearing postponed for accused flag burners

A plea hearing scheduled for Wednesday for the Yale students charged with burning a flag hanging from a Chapel Street home two weeks ago has been postponed.

The plea hearings for Farhad Anklesaria ’10 and Nikolaos Angelopoulos ’10 are now scheduled for April 25, according to the New Haven Superior Court clerk’s office. The plea hearing for Hyder Akbar ’07 — who through his lawyer has taken responsibility for the act — is set for May 7. All three were charged with multiple counts of second-degree arson, first-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree breach of peace at an arraignment on April 3.

The students’ attorney, William Dow III ’63, previously told the News that Akbar takes full responsibility for the “stupid college prank,” which he said was not politically motivated. The freshmen, he said, “were at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Dow was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

The outcome of the case could be especially significant for the two Saybrook freshmen, as they are foreign citizens. Angelopoulos is Greek and Anklesaria is British. Ann Kuhlman, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars, has said the arrests could affect the two students’ immigration status.

Akbar, though born in Pakistan, is an American citizen raised in California. He worked as an informal translator for U.S. forces during the invasion of Afghanistan and later published a memoir, “Come Back to Afghanistan,” based on his experiences there. His father is a former governor for an Afghan province after the fall of the Taliban.

Following the arrests, the story captured national media attention, though coverage has generally died down over the last couple of weeks.

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