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Thursday, 30 January, 2003, 17:24 GMT
Jail terms cut on Bradford rioters
Bradford riots
The riots caused damage estimated at 27m
Four Asian men convicted of their part in the Bradford riots have had their jail sentences reduced.

The sentences on 11 other men will stay the same, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

But one supporter of the families who had come down from the north of England said they felt "devastated" by the judgement.

During the two-day hearing the court was told that the terms handed out to the men were longer than those handed out to white men for similar offences.

Imran Khan
Racism did play a part because the National Front was there on that day in July 2001

Imran Khan solicitor

Defence lawyer Michael Mansfield QC said the trial judge had ignored the "matrix of fear" which the Asian community was under because of the activities of the National Front in 2001.

But Lord Justice Rose, sitting with two other appeal judges, said he was satisfied the judges in each court case had followed appropriate guidelines.

He said they had no doubt that deterrent sentences were called for, to the extent that previous good character and individual mitigating circumstances carried comparatively little weight.

The judge also gave credit to the role played by Asian elders in the community, in comparison to the behaviour of rioters.

Of the four men who will now serve reduced jail terms, two have had their sentences cut from four to three years, one from four to two years, and the other from two years, nine months to two years.

Police injured

Speaking outside court, Irman Khan, solicitor for many of the defendants, said: "We have to look at the way in which Asians were sentenced.

"In that respect racism did play a part because the National Front was there on that day in July 2001.

"What the judge didn't do in sentencing was to take that into account to explain why it was that the Asian community felt so frustrated and angry."

The disturbances in Bradford led to around 300 police officers being injured and caused damage estimated at 27m.

Arguments aired

Suresh Grover said many of the families involved in the hearing were devastated and had expected greater reductions in the men's jail terms.

But he said it was important that the role played by racism in the origin of the trouble had been aired in the Court of Appeal.

The men who had their sentences reduced are Parvais Najeeb, 28, of Horton Grange Road, Lidget Green - four years reduced to three.

Shakeel Qazi, 22, of Garfield Avenue, Manningham - four years reduced to two.

Mohammed Maskin, 27, of Hampden Place, Little Horton - two years nine months reduced to two years.

Shazad Ali, 22, of Branksome Crescent, Heaton - four years reduced to three.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Daniel Sandford
"Many young men are now facing four years in prison for their parts in the riots""
Imran Khan, solicitor for the appellants
"There are many yet to be sentenced and it'll be interesting to see how they're dealt with"

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