Page last updated at 18:16 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 19:16 UK

Boy, 14, 'forced to flog himself'

A 14-year-old has told Manchester Crown Court how he and another boy were forced to flog themselves until they bled during a religious ceremony.

The teenager said Syed Mustafa Zaidi made them flog themselves with a whip which had chains and blades attached, as part of a Shia Muslim ceremony.

He said the other boy, aged 15, was also forced to do "the knife thing" in Levenshulme, Manchester, on 19 January.

Mr Zaidi, 44, of Station Road, Eccles, denies two counts of child cruelty.

The court heard how the defendant and the two boys were part of a large group of men who attended an Ashura ceremony commemorating the death of the spiritual leader of Shia Muslims.

We said: 'We don't want to do it'
The 14-year-old boy

The 14-year-old boy was 13 at the time of the alleged incident, which is said to have happened at a community centre.

He said he saw Mr Zaidi flogging himself with the whip - called a zanjeer - before washing his blood from it and handing it to the 15-year-old boy.

He told the court that Mr Zaidi was "pulling him and pushing him, 'keep doing it', telling people: 'This is a sad moment and look, he's not doing it'.

"He goes: 'I don't want to do it, I don't want to do it'.

"He kept pressuring him, make him do the knife thing, pulling him, trying to get his T-shirt off, pulling and pushing him.

"He was saying 'just do it, just do it'."

'I bled'

He said the 15-year-old boy "swung it once or twice and said: 'I don't want to do it any more'."

He told the court that the older boy was then pulled away by another man.

The 14-year-old told the jury that Mr Zaidi told them both: "Start doing it, start doing it."

The boy, who cannot be named because of his age, added: "We said: 'We don't want to do it'."

The teenager said: "It was known that under-16s not allowed yet he came to us and forcing us."

Junior zanjeer

The 14-year-old also told the court how he inflicted cuts on his own back as a result of being made to flog himself.

"I went home to get a bath because I was bleeding," he said.

The 14-year-old boy admitted that he wanted to flog himself -but not with Mr Zaidi's whip.

He said: "I wanted to do it but I didn't want someone forcing me or with his knives.

"I wanted to do it but someone told me under-16 wasn't allowed."

He also said he saw three boys, the youngest aged about 11, flogging themselves with junior zanjeers, which have smaller knives attached, at the ceremony.

He said they were allowed to carry out the ritual if they were with a responsible adult.

The boy said he had taken part in Ashura ceremonies in Pakistan from the age of six, but using a junior zanjeer.

The case was adjourned until Wednesday.


SEE ALSO
Boys 'flogged' during Shia ritual
18 Aug 08 |  Manchester
Man charged after Muslim ceremony
24 Jan 08 |  Manchester

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