October 06, 2006

113 freed from chains in mullah's 'drug cure' prison

A Pakistani [The Telegraph would not state upfront that this was a Muslim] cleric has been arrested for running a private jail to which he lured dozens of drug addicts from Britain by offering a spiritual cure in return for money. In a raid this week, police found 113 people, aged between 12 and 50, bound in chains and shackled together at a madrassa, or religious school, in a remote village in northern Pakistan. At least seven were British nationals of Pakistani origin.

Many prisoners, whose relatives consigned them to the care of Maulana Ilyas Qadri hoping they would be cured, claimed to have been sexually assaulted, beaten and starved. "Married men would be chained for one year and unmarried men for 18 months," the mullah said. "But people from Britain were chained for only three or four months because of pressure from back home." He added: "Because of my spiritual treatment they would not feel pain."