Grooming gang ringleader hires ‘equality representative’ in prison

Grooming gang ringleader hires ‘equality representative’ in prison

The head of a vicious Pakistani child-rape-grooming gang in Rochdale has been granted the position of “representative of equality” for other inmates at the prison where he is being held.

Shabir Ahmed, 69, was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2012 for a series of child sex crimes based in the northern English town of Rochdale, including raping a young girl 30 times and acting as a ringleader in a grooming gang that plyed young girls with drugs and alcohol. And “pass them around” between each other.

His promotion to “representative of equality” at Wakefield prison – known colloquially as ‘Monster Mansion’ due to the number of high-profile sex offenders and murderers there – came via a revelation during a parole board hearing where his bid for release was rejected.

The Equality Representative’s role includes gathering the views of prisoners in the same unit and acting as their messenger to prison staff, Daily message Report Ahmed would have applied for the post and will be scrutinized considering the crime for which he was locked up.

Commenting on the decision to grant special status to child rapists in prison, prosecutor Nair Azfal said it was “surprising both in its sensitivity and appropriateness”.

Azfal, who was involved in jailing the Rochdale rape gang, added: “It’s like putting wolves in charge of sheep.”

One of Ahmed’s victims, referred to only as ‘Girl A’ to remain anonymous, commented: “What were the prison authorities thinking? It’s crazy to think they would let a racist like him get anywhere near such a role.”

“The truth is he is a sick pedophile who is the most racist person I have ever met. It’s complete madness.”

Indeed, Ahmed had earlier appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that he should be convicted on human rights grounds because his jury was all-white and allegedly influenced by “far-right” groups and that the police had framed the case against him as a “Muslim”. Fit the anti-prejudice”.

Yet Strasbourg judges, often sympathetic to criminals, on this occasion rejected the “manifestly ill-founded” appeal.

Former detective turned grooming gang whistleblower Maggie Oliver said his promotion to prison was “an insult to the victims”, adding: “Giving equality to a child rapist who blames Western society for his horrific crimes shows a shocking lack of judgment by the authorities.”

Last month, a report into the sexual exploitation of children by grooming gangs in Oldham revealed Ahmed had been recruited to work as a welfare officer by the local Labor Party-run council. The report found that police were aware of the allegations against the then Labor member but did not share the information with the council.

Ahmed was also sent by the council to serve at the Oldham Pakistani Community Centre, which meant he had close contact with young children. The report noted that if the police had notified the council “it may have avoided the tragic abuse of other children.”

Follow Kurt Jindulka on Twitter here @Kurtzindulka

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