Another Rotherham Grooming Gang in Court for Abducting and Raping Young Girls

Ten men are on trial accused of raping, abducting, and supplying drugs to eight teenage girls in the town of Rotherham.

Alleged attackers Amjal Rafiq, Nabeel Kurshid, Iqlak Yousaf, Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, Aftab Hussain, Abid Saddiq, Sharaz Hussain, Salah Ahmed El-Hakam, Masaeud Malik, and Waseem Khaliq, aged between 33 and 38, have been subject to a National Crime Agency investigation into historical child abuse in Rotherham, where mostly Muslim rape gangs operated unopposed for more than a decade.

They first appeared at Sheffield Crown Court court in October, and have now been charged with a total of 33 offences reported to have taken place between 1998 and 2005. The men deny the charges and will stand trial at Sheffield Crown Court in 2018 between September and November.

Their court appearance on Friday was temporarily halted after defendants pointed at the dock and claimed three of the men were filming. Security guards stepped in and confiscated their devices, the Sheffield Star reports.

Judge Sarah Wright reminded those present that taking photos and filming is illegal and could be regarded as contempt of court. She said:

“It’s a criminal offence to take photos in the courtroom. I regard it as a very serious Contempt of Court if there are any breaches of court rules in the public gallery.”

Rotherham’s Labour MP, Sarah Champion, tweeted out news of the trial. In August, she was forced to resign from her position in the party for writing an article mentioning that the majority of sex groomers in the town are Pakistani-origin and the majority of their victims are white. She was accused of “Islamophobia” and racism.

According to the BBC, these are the specific charges against the men:

— Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, 36, of East Road, Rotherham, who is charged with four counts of indecent assault, one count of rape, one count of supplying a controlled drug, one count of sexual assault and one count of procuring a girl under 21 to have unlawful sexual intercourse

— Nabeel Kurshid, 34, of Warwick Street, Rotherham, who is charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault

— Iqlak Yousaf, 33, of Tooker Road, Rotherham, who is charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault

— Amjal Rafiq, 38, of Warwick Street, Rotherham, who is charged with one count of indecent assault

— Salah Ahmed El-Hakam, 38, of Tudor Close, Sheffield, who is charged with one count of rape

— Aftab Hussain, 38, of York Road, Rotherham, who is charged with three counts of rape, one count of abducting a child and two counts of indecent assault

— Abid Saddiq, 36, of Walter Street, Rotherham, who is charged with five counts of indecent assault and four counts of rape

— Waseem Khaliq, 33, of Eldon Court, Sheffield, who is charged with one count of rape

— Masaeud Malik, 33, of Doncaster, who is charged with one count of indecent assault

— Sharaz Hussain, 33, of Fraser Road, Rotherham, who is charged with one count of indecent assault

Rape gangs operated in Rotherham from the late 1980s until 2010, with police taking little interest in complaints, blaming the victims, and largely ignoring the problem until 2001.

After the first grooming gang prosecutions in Rochdale and the government’s Casey Report into the Rotherham scandal, a “culture of silence” and political correctness were blamed for the inaction, and other cases were finally investigated.

Earlier this year, in August, Asian men and one white woman were convicted of involvement in a mostly-Muslim sex grooming gang operating in Newcastle.

The investigation in Newcastle identified more than 700 victims of abuse that spanned four years and was the largest case of its kind since Rotherham where more than 1,400 girls were targeted.

There have also been cases in BristolDerbyOxfordHuddersfieldPeterboroughTelford, and Keighley, with the overwhelming majority of groomers being Muslim men. Ethnicity varies, however, with the Bristol gang being mainly Somali rather than South Asian.

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