Man jailed for child sex abuse images - Bishop's Stortford

22/04/2015

A human rights journalist from Bishop's Stortford was jailed for a year today, Wednesday, 22 April 2015, after hundreds of child sex abuse images were found on his computer.

Hikmet Yehya, aged 57, was arrested in March 2013 when the police seized two hard drives from his home.

842  images and 30 movies had been downloaded. 7 images and 3 movies were at Level 5, the most serious grade. There were 64 images and 16 movies at Level 4, 34 images and 6 movies at Level 3, 10 images and 4 movies at Level 2 and 727 images and 1 movie at Level 1, Luton Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Wayne Cleaver said the children involved were pre-teen and pre-puberty. They had been stored on the drives for "upward of four years."

Yehya of Queens Crescent, Bishop's Stortford was convicted of 10 charges of making (downloading) images, two of possessing images on the hard drives and one of possessing extreme pornography. He was of previous good character.

Lewis Perry, defending, said Yehya, who was aided by an Arabic interpreter, still maintains his innocence and intends to appeal against the conviction. "Mr Yehya still maintains his innocence. He works as a human rights journalist and recognises the harm that has been caused to the children involved. He is a family  man and a law-abiding citizen. In all other respects he is a decent and hard-working person," said Mr Perry. He said Yehya had worked in journalism in Europe and Africa and handed the judge references from his friends and family, including his daughter.

Judge Stuart Bridge told him: "These images and movies show the degradation of children of a very young age. These offences are always treated seriously. Those who download and store these images and movies fuel the market for the abuse of children." The judge said he could not pass a sentence that would involve rehabilitation because Yehya was in denial about the offences.

In addition to the 12 month sentence, the Judge passed a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which included a provision that risk management software is installed on his computers, so the police can monitor his internet activity.

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