Hunt for on-the-run Dudley imam stepped up over indecent assaults
The hunt for an imam who went on the run before being convicted of indecently assaulting two young girls at his mosque has been stepped up as files were passed to extradition experts.
Hafiz Rahman, aged 58, was sentenced to 11-and-a-half years in prison in his absence after claiming he was too ill to attend court in October.
However, he fled to Bangladesh the next day and has been on the run ever since.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it is still working to try and track down Rahman, and its extradition team was now involved in trying to locate him.
Rahman, of Ballard Road, Netherton, Dudley, had been working at Queens Cross mosque in Cradley Heath in the 1980s when the abuse took place.
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how he assaulted two young girls at the mosque.
CPS spokesman Vinny Bolina said: "The files have been sent to the extradition units to be assessed."
One of Rahman's victims said her ordeal was over following the sentencing, despite the fact her tormentor was still at large.
Police chiefs were left red-faced when the imam managed to flee the country during his trial with the hunt to track him down ongoing ever since.
But Judge Nicholas Cartwright said during sentencing: "There was no need to be suspicious that he would not attend his sentencing hearing so no warrant was issued for his arrest after he was convicted."
One of his victims said after the sentencing: "I am pleased with the sentencing. I didn't think he would get that much.
"For me, this is over now. I just hope the police can get him back here.
"His life is over and mine is just going to start.
"I know the police will do everything they can to try and catch him."
West Midlands Police said Rahman boarded a flight to Bangladesh on October 8 but his whereabouts remain unknown.