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March 20, 2019

Lord Nazir pleads not guilty to sex abuse charges

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March 20, 2019

LONDON: Lord Nazir Ahmed denied sexual offences as he appeared in court charged with historic sexual offences against two children.

Britain’s first Muslim peer was charged earlier this month with two counts of attempted rape and one count of indecent assault in the early 1970s but his lawyer said on Tuesday that his client is innocent. Lord Ahmed, 61, appeared at Sheffield Magistrates' Court with two of his brothers Mohamed Farouq, 68, and Mohammed Tariq, 63. Farouq is charged with four counts of indecent assault against a boy under 14 and Tariq is charged with two counts of indecent assault against a boy under 14.

The charges against Ahmed relate to two complainants - a boy and a girl - and to alleged incidents between 1971 and 1974, when he was a teenager. The indecent assault charge relates to a "boy under 14".

During his appearance at the court, Lord Nazir spoke to confirm his name, date of birth, address and his nationality as British. Ahmed entered no pleas during the 10-minute hearing but his solicitor, Haroon Shah, said he would be pleading not guilty to all the charges. Farouq and Tariq entered not guilty pleas during Tuesday's hearing. All three men were granted bail to appear at Sheffield Crown Court on April 16.

District Judge Tanweer Ikram said: "I'm going to bail you to appear at the Crown Court sitting at Sheffield on April 16." Speaking outside court on behalf of Ahmed before the hearing, Shah said: "He denies the allegations and he will be doing everything he can in order to prove his innocence."

Ahmed was born in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir, but his political roots are in Rotherham, where he grew up and still lives. He joined Labour Party at 18 and served for a decade on Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council as a councilor before becoming the House of Lords member in 1998.

Lord Nazir Ahmed has instructed leading human rights lawyer Imran Khan to defend him in relation to the historical sex allegations charges. A statement sent to this reporter by Imran Khan’s firm said two weeks ago: “Lord Ahmed wishes to make it clear that he strenuously denies these allegations. He will be doing all that is humanly possible to defend himself against these allegations to show that he is completely innocent.”

Lord Nazir Ahmed has refused to speak to media but locals in Rotherham, familiar with the case, have said that the accusers of Lord Nazir happen to be his relatives. It’s understood that Lord Nazir and his family have been involved in family dispute with the very people who have now made allegations against him.

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