Christian hotel couple cleared of Muslim rant

'Insulting' sentence prompts calls for a change to the law

A RAPIST aged 13 was locked up for just three years yesterday because of his age and the fact he said 'sorry'. Balal Khan heat his 20-year-old victim before he raped her and even took a call from her boyfriend on her phone to brag about what he had done. He can he named after the judge said publication would be a deterrent to others but victims' campaigners called his sentence 'obscene' and demanded changes to the law. Anne-Marie Campbell, chairman of the Sexual Assault victims Initiative, said: 'It's obviously an insulting sentence to the victim and he probably won't even serve the full three years. 'The roots of these problem children also need to be looked at urgently as well as the sentences handed out. They need to be treated, counselled and it needs to be discovered why they are doing things like this.' Khan, who is now 14, grabbed his terrified victim by the neck as she walked through a park in Stoke in the evening of September 11 last year. After knocking her to the ground, he repeatedly punched and kicked her, shouting: 'Do what I say or I'll kill you.' Two boys aged ten and 11, who knew Khan, were nearby and shouted at him to stop but he continued. Khan stole his victim's mobile and ipod and made a call from the phone to his parents' house. Phone records led police to Khan, who told them he had only tripped the woman and stolen her bag. However, his DNA was on swabs taken from the victim. He pleaded guilty to charges of rape and robbery and was sentenced to three years in a young offenders' institution after Stoke Crown Court heard he had been taking anger management classes. Judge Paul Glenn said an adult convicted of the same crimes would have been jailed for at least eight years. He said: 'It was a terrifying experience for this young woman and she will be left psychologically scarred.' Khan's lawyer, Naomi Perry, said he had no known remorse for what he had done. She added: 'We are dealing with a very immature young man. The case came as the Attorney General announced she would reconsider the prison terms handed down to the so-called devil boys, aged 11 and 12. Baroness Scotland will look at the sentences given to the pair, who tortured two young boys in Edlington, South Yorkshire, last April, to see if they were 'unduly lenient'. She can then refer them to the Court of Appeal, which can impose longer sentences. The brothers were given indefinite terms last week with a minimum tariff of five years. By Ross McGuinness

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Islamist group cancels march through Wootton Bassett

An Islamist group has scrapped plans to march through a town where British troops killed in Afghanistan are honoured after a public outcry and criticism from Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In a message posted on its Website late Sunday, the group, Islam4UK, said it had successfully highlighted "the plight of Muslims in Afghanistan" and a march was no longer needed. "No more could be achieved even if a procession were to take place," the group's spokesman Anjem Choudary said in a statement. "This does not mean that we will remain silent on the atrocities being committed in Afghanistan under the guise of fighting for freedom and democracy." Soldiers, politicians and residents of Wootton Bassett, southwest England, had condemned the planned march. Brown said last week that any attempt to distress the families of dead soldiers would be "abhorrent and offensive." Mourners regularly line the streets of the small market town to pay their respects when the coffins of troops pass through from a nearby air force base which receives the bodies of British soldiers flown back from Afghanistan. Islam4UK had said it wanted to hold a procession to highlight the deaths of "innocent Muslim men, women and children" who had been killed in the conflict. The group seeks the introduction of sharia law in Britain and has links to Islamist militant leader Omar Bakri Mohammed, who has been banned from entering Britain. The News of the World reported Sunday that Home Secretary Alan Johnson would try to ban the group this week. His department did not confirm the report. Member of parliament James Gray, whose constituency includes Wootton Bassett, said talk of holding the march was no more than a "media stunt." "The whole announcement was to get media coverage," he told the BBC. "He (Choudary) admitted that himself and he achieved it, he received lots of coverage." (Reporting by Peter Griffiths; editing by David Stamp)

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