A Belgian court sentenced a Turkish migrant to six years in prison after being convicted for sexually abused several underage girls.
The Hainaut Court of Appeal confirmed the sentence against the Turkish migrant on Tuesday, one of several men sentenced in the case which dates back to 2012.
An investigation into the man was launched in June of 2012 after one of the underage victims came forward to Belgian authorities. The man, who pretended to be an imam, had the two underage victims referred to him by his aunt for “purification”.
The aunt of the migrant had previously sent her own two underage daughters for “purification”, which involved the man sexually abusing his victims, but did not open up about the sexual abuse until 2015 when they had both become adults, Sudinfo reports.
Imam Found Guilty of Sexually Abusing Boy in Mosque, Muslim Community Turned Against Victim https://t.co/LP60NantSM
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The defence in the case proposed an acquittal for the migrant, stating that the evidence did not meet the threshold required to convict the migrant.
The fake imam had no prior criminal record, but the court found that his statements were without credit and rejected his denial of the allegations, moving to convict him in the case.
While the Turkish man was a fake imam, sex abuse cases involving real imams have made headlines in recent years as well.
In 2016 in the UK, 57-year-old Imam Hifiz Rahman fled the country for Bangladesh after being found guilty on five of seven counts of abusing children between the ages of six and ten.
Detective Constable Liz Skyte, from West Midlands Police’s Public Protection Unit, said the abuse had gone from inappropriate touching and had escalated to serious assaults.
Two years later, 76-year-old Imam Hafiz Azizur Rehman Pirzada, of Laughton Road, Northolt, was also found guilty of eight counts of sexual assault on two children under the age of 13.