A court appearance was postponed again Wednesday afternoon for  a man charged with murder in the death of his father in Portland.

Abdallah Salim Al Siraj, 22, has been held without bail at the Cumberland County Jail since Feb. 16. He is accused of killing Salim Al Siraj, 50, whose body was found Feb. 15  inside an apartment at 17 Carleton St. in the West End.

Abdallah Salim Al Siraj Photo courtesy of Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office

No details have been released yet in the case. Police refuse to say what led them to believe Al Siraj killed his father, and an affidavit of probable cause that outlines how detectives connected him to the crime has been impounded by a judge. They have not said how Salim Al Siraj was killed.

Al Siraj’s attorney, Robert Ruffner, requested the postponement during a hearing Wednesday afternoon in Portland Unified Criminal Court. A judge set a new date of March 3 for his first appearance.

Because he is charged with a felony, Al Siraj must be indicted by a grand jury before the case can proceed.

The Maine Attorney General’s Office said it was common practice to seal some records early in a murder case to protect the ongoing investigation by police and to prevent potential grand jurors from learning about the circumstances before they are called to make an impartial judgment on whether an indictment is warranted.


State law gives law enforcement agencies and other government bodies wide latitude to withhold records if officials believe that releasing the records could compromise a criminal investigation or result in the dissemination of prejudicial information.

The state’s motion to seal the records was also sealed.

“In the event of an indictment, we expect the order sealing certain materials will be lifted,” the attorney general’s office said in a written statement about the impounded documents.

During the hearing Wednesday, Ruffner suggested he may request a Harnish bail hearing, a proceeding in which the state must prove that probable cause exists to charge Al Siraj with murder by presenting evidence or testimony from police or others before a judge. There is no date yet for when that hearing may take place, as it is up to Ruffner to request it.

Meanwhile, Ruffner requested a mental evaluation to determine if the suspect is competent to stand trial and a judge agreed, but it’s unknown whether that evaluation has taken place yet.

Ruffner did not return several calls requesting an interview.

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