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Ilyas Ashar, British Man, Found Guilty Of Raping Girl He Kept As Slave For 10 Years

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Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire
Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire

In a case that may remind Americans of the recently concluded Ariel Castro trial, a British man has been found guilty of repeatedly raping a Pakistani orphan he kept in his cellar as a virtual slave for 10 years.

Ilyas Ashar, 84, was convicted Wednesday on 13 counts of rape against the girl -- now thought to be 19 or 20 -- who lived with Ashar and his wife, Tallat, in Salford, England, according to the Independent.

Brought to England from Pakistan when she was about 10 years old, the victim, who is deaf and mute, was forced to cook and clean the house of her captor, as well as the houses of his friends and family, the report notes.

Not allowed to go to school while living with the Ashars, the victim was taught sign language by special experts after her rescue, the Manchester Evening News reports. She later used her signing abilities to testify against her captors, according to the outlet, which noted the victim referred to Ilyas Ashar as the "the bad old man."

The verdict signals the end of a four-year investigation that began when the victim was discovered sleeping in the cellar during an unrelated visit by trading standards officers in 2009.

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ilyas ashar

The entrance to the cellar where Ilyas Ashar kept a young deaf and mute orphan as a slave for 10 years.

In a previous trial, Ashar was convicted of two counts of trafficking a person into the United Kingdom for exploitation and three counts relating to the fraudulent obtaining of benefits filed under the captive woman's name, the Independent reports. Ashar's wife and his daughter Faaiza Ashar were also convicted on fraud charges.

The case was clearly an emotional one for those involved, with Greater Manchester Police official May Doyle describing Ashar as "pure evil" in contrast with the "remarkably courageous" victim, the BBC notes.

Ian Rushton of the Crown Prosecution Service said that the case represented the exploitation of one the "most vulnerable" victims he had ever heard of.

"When she was first brought to the UK she was just a child," Rushton said, according to the BBC. "She was unable to hear or speak and had no formal sign language through which to communicate, no family or friends to turn to, had never been to school and had no knowledge of this country's culture and society... We have been determined to bring them to justice for this catalogue of abuse."

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