Irfan Patel: Blackburn mosque torture teacher sentenced

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A religious teacher at a Lancashire mosque who admitted using torture techniques on four children has been given a suspended sentence.

Irfan Patel, 33, of Pelham Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to four counts of cruelty to a person under the age of 16 at Preston Crown Court.

He was sentenced to 40 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months.

In sentencing, Judge Robert Altham said Patel had an "outdated understanding of what discipline is".

'Persistent offending'

Patel, who was trained as a madrassa teacher in India, admitted using stress positions in which pupils squatted for long periods as a punishment.

Start Quote

The punishment... was not appropriate chastisement, it was assault and bullying”

End Quote Nazir Afzal Chief Crown prosecutor

He also admitted beating pupils between January and October 2011.

The court was told he had initially denied the offences and suggested his pupils were conspiring against him, before later confessing to the crimes.

Judge Altham said Patel had been responsible for "serious and persistent offending while in a position of trust".

However, he said Patel had gained "no gratuitous satisfaction" from the punishments.

He added that he was "sure that with formal training", the 33-year-old would not offend again.

'Systematic bullying'

Nazir Afzal, the chief Crown prosecutor for the North West, said Patel's actions had gone "far beyond what was acceptable in disciplining those in his care".

"His treatment of the children to whom he was supposed to be providing spiritual teaching and guidance amounted to systematic bullying," he said.

"They were very young boys who should have expected to be safe when they attended classes at the mosque.

"The punishment that Irfan Patel used was not appropriate chastisement, it was assault and bullying and it is a crime.

"I hope that this case will give young people and their parents the confidence to report this sort of bullying and ill treatment."

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