Imam jailed in his absence for sex attacks
A RELIGIOUS leader in Cradley Heath, who fled Britain after being convicted of carrying out a repeated sex attacks on two young girls at a Dudley mosque has been jailed in his absence for eleven and a half years.
Hafiz Rahman, boarded a flight to Bangladesh after being allowed bail during the course of his trial and now “strenuous” efforts are being made to bring him back to the United Kingdom.
The 58-year-old sexually assaulted two victims who were under 10 years of age at the time after they went to Queens Cross Mosque for religious studies.
The Imam, described as being “treated like royalty” by the Muslim community, left both victims psychologically damaged by his actions.
Judge Nicholas Cartwright said Rahman, a father of seven with ten grandchildren, had subjected the young girls to “repeated, deliberate behaviour over several years.”
He said he had been entrusted to educate them in the ways of the Koran and what he did was a “gross breach of trust.”
The judge said it was planned offending and the sex attacks had “blighted” the lives of his victims leaving them with considerable difficulties in life.
Rahman, who lived at Ballard Road, Netherton, prior to his disappearance, told Wolverhampton Crownn Court he was too ill to attend while the jury were out considering the evidence at the end of his trial.
But he had booked a ticket to fly to Bangladesh and he left the country just hours after the six man-six woman jury found him guilty on five specimen charges of indecent assault.
Peter Arnold, for the prosecution, said that because of the time he had spent in the country and his standing in the community they had been confident he would attend to be sentenced for his crimes.
“We will be making strenuous efforts to bring him back to this country,” added Mr Arnold who said Rahman had used a second passport having surrendered his UK passport to his solicitors as part of his bail conditions.
Rahman who had earlier returned to the UK after being allowed to travel back to Bangladesh on a personal matter was further told by the judge he would have to register as a Sex Offender for the rest of his life.
Tariq Shakoor, defending, said there had been nothing to trigger suspicions that Rahman would abscond before the case against him could be finalised.
He said the two victims clearly wanted closure having helped to bring him to justice but he stressed he had done a great deal of good work in the Muslim community over the years, “He has played a positive part in the lives of many other people,” said Mr Shakoor. “Many people have benefitted from his guidance and instruction.”
But he said he had to concede that Rahman had brought shame on himself, the mosque, the Muslim community and his own family by what he had done to the two young girls around 30 years ago.
The judge said Rahman was a man who had deceived the parents of the children at the mosque and also the many people who had written character references on his behalf that had been presented to the court.
He said it was clear he has no intention of returning to the UK having shown no remorse whatsoever for his crimes After the case one of Rahman’s victims said she was delighted with the term of imprisonment adding: “I can now restart my life now he has finally been sentenced.
“It has been a terrible ordeal and all I can do now is hope that one day he will be arrested and brought back so he can go to prison.”
Paedophile imam found guilty of abusing two young girls at a mosque absconds to Bangladesh
A paedophile imam who was found guilty of abusing two young girls at a mosque has absconded to Bangladesh while on bail, ITV News has learned.
Hafiz Rahman, 57, of Netherton was convicted on Friday of indecently abusing two victims in the 1980s after they were sent to him for religious tuition at a mosque in Dudley.
The imam was free on conditional bail pending sentencing following the trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
He had attended the initial part of proceedings but failed to appear for the final two days after claiming to be sick once the jury retired to consider its verdicts.
He was found guilty in his absence on Friday and was visited by police at his home.
But on Saturday he skipped bail by boarding a flight to Bangladesh in a bid to escape justice.
Rahman’s absconsion came as officials prepared to summon following his conviction for the horrific offences.
The jury found him guilty of five of seven counts of indecently assaulting the two victims, who were aged between 6 and 10 when he abused them.
The court heard Rahman targeted the girls on an almost daily basis at times between 1984 and 1987, when he was supposed to be leading Koran classes at Dudley’s Queens Cross Mosque.
One of the victims, now aged 40, came forward to police in 2012 and officers launched an investigation.
Rahman was arrested in 2014 and denied the offences but was found guilty following a week long trial.
The court ruled he was not a flight risk and released him on bail to return for sentencing at a unspecified later date.
But today police confirmed he had skipped bail and absconded.
The statement added: “The court did not issue any warrant for Mr Rahman to be arrested or remanded following the guilty verdict and he was due to be summonsed for sentencing this week.
“Officers visited him at home that evening to ensure he was complying with the previously imposed bail conditions of residing at the specified address, which he was.
“An ‘all ports warning’ information report was placed onto the Police National Computer advising that officers should be notified if he made any attempt to try and leave the country.”