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Last Updated:  Monday, 3 March, 2003, 15:29 GMT
Judge's taxi warning after rape
Court graphic
A judge has said "nobody can travel with any safety in a minicab" in London, after an Afghan refugee cab driver was sentenced to eight years in jail for raping a woman passenger.

Father-of-three Assadullah Razaq, 31, was also recommended for deportation despite claims that he would be stoned to death in his country.

When he was convicted in December, Recorder Michael Sayers QC ordered an inquiry into how Razaq could work so easily as a cab driver.

He said the dangers of using minicabs in the capital should be highlighted and criticised the lack of regulation in London compared to other major cities.

"Nobody can travel with any degree of assurance or safety in a minicab," he added.

An Old Bailey jury was told judge's son Razaq had been in Britain a year when he committed the offence in July 2001.

Cab firm raided

He climbed into the back of his cab in a secluded road and raped a 28-year-old secretary.

The court was told he had bought a false driving licence in someone else's name and had no insurance.

Detective Constable Malcolm Samuels said police raided Razaq's employer, Speedline Cars in Stratford, east London.

They found that of the 32 drivers listed, none appeared to be working legally.

'Cynical opportunism'

Fourteen were claiming unemployment benefit and the remaining 18 could not be traced.

Their details had been passed to immigration officials as it was thought they could all be working with false identities.

Recorder Sayers told Razaq he had abused the woman with a "mixture of arrogance and cynical opportunism".

She was still suffering from depression and panic attacks, the court was told.

Donora Macaulay, defending, said Razaq, a surgeon in Afghanistan, took responsibility for having sex with the woman but still maintained it was not rape.

She said he came to Britain in August 2000 after being tortured by the Taleban - something which had affected him.




SEE ALSO:
'Cab' rapist gets nine years
29 Oct 02 |  England


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