Fugitive paedophile imam given 11 year jail sentence

The paedophile Hifiz Rahman

A paedophile imam who is thought to be on the run in Bangladesh has been sentenced to 11 and a half years in jail.

Hifiz Rahman, 58, sexually assaulted two girls in the 1980s but fled the UK for Bangladesh in October before being sentenced.

Rahman absconded after being found guilty of assaulting the girls at Cradley Heath Mosque in Dudley.

Setting out the circumstances of Rahman’s flight from Britain, the judge at Wolverhampton Crown Court said that when police went to check that he was sticking to his bail conditions, they were told he was sick by a “member of the family.”

But it emerged that officers “didn’t see him personally,” and the next day his son rang police to report he had “disappeared.”

A trawl of CCTV at Birmingham Airport confirmed he boarded a flight on October 8. Police said attempts to return Rahman to the UK are continuing.

Sentencing, Judge Cartwright said: “ What he did was a gross breach of the trust placed in him.”

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He said that the sexual abuse carried out inside the mosque during one-to-one lessons was “planned” and “repeated” over a period of years during the 1980s. He added that the abuse by Rahman, as a trusted and respected imam, had “blighted” the lives of his victims into adulthood, leading at least one to question her faith.

Speaking after sentencing, one of the victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “I’m pleased with the sentence – I didn’t think he’d get that much. It’s over for now, we just need to get him back here to serve his time. His life is over and mine can now restart.”

She added: “The police are going to do everything they can and I’m sure he will be back.”

The offences against one victim took place between April 1984 and August 1987, with the second charge he was convicted of from March 1984 to March 1988.

The girls who had gone to the mosque for religious studies had described to the jury how they were touched sexually by Rahman.

The victims who were aged under ten had told the court how they were sexually assaulted by the Imam – a man with seven children and ten grandchildren.

The one woman broke down as she explained how she found it hard to understand what was happening because she was only six years old at the time.

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