Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Imam remanded on child rape charges

Imam remanded on child rape charges
A FORMER Muslim minister at a prison near Uttoxeter, who collected an award at Buckingham Palace for his work, has appeared in court accused of five sex offences.

Mohammed Hanif Khan Mohammed Hanif Khan worked with much recognition as the first Muslim minister at HMP Dovegate, in Marchington, receiving a Butler Trust award from Princess Anne back in 2004.

He appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown’ Court on Monday, accused of committing serious sexual offences with two young boys.

The 41-year-old is accused of three counts of rape and sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy in the Meir area of Stoke-on-Trent.

He is further accused of three counts of rape on a boy under the age of 13 also in Tunstall, Stoke. Both charges relate to a period between July and October last year.

Khan denies the charges and was remanded in custody by magistrates to appear for a plea and directions hearing at the same court on Wednesday, April 28.

The public gallery was full of supporters of Khan, with many also outside the courtroom.

An application for bail was refused by Judge Granville Styler.

Khan appeared in court via video link from Winson Green Prison, in Birmingham, having been refused bail at a previous hearing.

Khan became the first ever full-time Islamic Minister in the history of the British Prison Service and while working at privately-run HMP Dovegate, received his award ‘for his work both inside the prison and with the local community’.

He was interviewed by The Advertiser in 2004, prior to receiving his award when the Princess Royal came to visit the Category B jail.

About the award he said: “I am really pleased to get this award and it is a great honour and gives me an enormous amount of pride. It is great to know that the work I have done has helped people in the prison.” He also spoke about his meeting with Princess Anne.

“The Princess was very charming, very easy to talk to and very down to earth. She asked me about my work and how long I had worked in the prison. I felt it was easy to be myself in her presence”, he said.

Khan is also patron and founder of Hizb ur Rasool (HUR), a charity dealing with youth issues and the propagation of Islam.

He left his role at HMP Dovegate in February 2008.

HMP Dovegate issued the following statement: “A former imam at HMP Dovegate has been remanded in custody on child sex offence charges. This is a police matter.

“HMP Dovegate is an adult male prison.”