Hastings student convicted in stalking case 

A former Hastings College of the Law student faces up to three years in state prison for stalking a woman so severely that he chased her overseas on a student-exchange program and threatened to commit suicide if he couldn’t live in the same dorm.

Zubair Shah, 39, of Pakistan, was convicted of one felony count of stalking in a San Francisco Superior Court Feb. 16. He will be sentenced March 19.

The conviction ends a stalking case that began five years ago, attracted the attention of international law enforcement and prompted Hastings College to attempt to evacuate its students studying in the Netherlands.

In 2001, both Shah and the woman, whose name is not being released, were first-year students at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in The City. Shah started asking the woman out on dates, and she continually refused, according to authorities.

After being turned down numerous times, Shah asked to speak with the woman privately one day in March 2001 and asked her a bold question: He wanted her underwear to settle an alleged $1,000 bet with other students. She said no, but Shah continued to call and e-mail her about the underwear, San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Michael Sullivan said.

To cover his tracks, Shah told a school administrator what he had done and apologized, according to Sullivan.

A year later, authorities say, the woman was accepted into a student-exchange program in Leiden, Netherlands, with four other students, and their acceptance was posted on campus. When Shah found out, he left Hastings, enrolled at Leiden University independently, and flew to the Netherlands.

He started taking classes with the woman and began an "incessant effort" to be placed in the same dormitory as her, Sullivan said.

Shah contacted Hastings’ administrators and threatened to commit suicide if he could not live near the victim. During one phone call, he referenced the 1999 killings at Columbine High School in Colorado.

At that point, Dutch law enforcement stepped in and numerous police reports were filed. Hastings officials attempted to evacuate its five students from Leiden University for their safety, Sullivan said, but the students wanted to stay. They instead posted fliers with Shah’s photo around campus.

Shah continued to stalk the woman when she returned to the United States.

In 2003, the woman graduated from Hastings, took the bar exam and went to police, Sullivan said.

Lorri Ungaretti, a Hastings spokeswoman, refused to comment on the case.

arocha@examiner.com

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