Calgary cab driver charged with sexual assault – released on bail

CALGARY – A Calgary cab driver has been formally charged with the sexual assault of a passenger last month.

Umar Khayyam, 35, was arrested on Friday and charged with sexual assault.

His arrest came after Global News spoke to 22-year-old Samantha, who described being locked in a cab and assaulted.

Samantha was taking a taxi home in the end of January when she says her driver started asking personal questions that made her feel uncomfortable. She says her driver turned off his meter and drove to an alley where he forced her to leave the cab, and began kissing her.

Eventually, Samantha was able to escape and call police when her attacker slipped on some ice.

Technology in cabs helped officials track the cab.

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“Our technical folks were able to geofence and isolate that area and that specific time of the offence between 3 and 5 am on that Sunday morning, and we did get a hit on a particular taxi,” said Marc Halat of the City of Calgary.

Police also have surveillance video from a Riverbend gas station.

And they are working with Samantha to ensure she comes to no harm.

“With regards to this instance, we did some follow up with the victim, and we will follow up with her again for safety planning,” said Detective Karen MacLeod with the Calgary Police Service.

Khayyam made his first court appearance on Monday, but was released on an $800 cash bail.

As part of the conditions of his release, Khayyam can no longer driver a cab in Calgary – his license has also been suspended.

He must maintain a curfew from 9 a.m. to 6 a.m., and he cannot go anywhere near Samantha.

“We’ve encouraged the victim to let her family and friends know about this individual, and if they should see him, as well to contact police,” said Detective Karen MacLeod with the Calgary Police Service.

Khayyam has been in Canada as a temporary foreign worker for less than a year.

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If convicted, he could be deported.

For now, Samantha will rely on family and friends to take her to and from work. And she told Global News she won’t be using cabs anytime soon.

Calgary police are not naming the cab company at this time.