Bradford oil worker jailed in Kazakhstan for child porn offences

Oil worker Peter Baruch, who has been jailed for eight years in Kazakhstan

Oil worker Peter Baruch, who has been jailed for eight years in Kazakhstan

First published in News

A Bradford-raised oil worker, who is a son of a University of Bradford professor, has been jailed for eight years in Kazakhstan for child pornography offences.

A court in the Central Asian country heard that Peter Baruch - who is married and has two children aged under five years - paid between £40 and £60 for a 12-year-old girl to pose naked and in underwear in his hotel room in Uralsk, north-western Kazakhstan.

Kazakh police said they found more than 600 photographs of the girl - and pictures of teenage girls - on the 38-year-old's computer.

Baruch, an engineering consultant for Zhaikmunai oil company in Atyrau and Uralsk since 2009, was also accused of corrupting at least one underage child in Uralsk, the court heard.

Baruch was a pupil at Rhodesway Upper school in Bradford from 1989 to 1994. He was born and brought up in Clayton.

Kazakh media reported that Baruch gave a partial guilty plea during his trial, explaining that the girls were taped for himself. He is said to have met them online.

Baruch was initially arrested earlier this year. He was charged with corruption of minors and production and distribution of child pornography, and engaging minors in pornographic events.

The court was told that police raided his room after the girl's mother became suspicious of money she brought home and read text messages on her phone.

It was also said that Baruch tried to destroy his computer when he noticed the police team.

Police also said that the girls on Baruch's pictures were aged between 12 and 17 and students of schools in Uralsk and Atyrau.

In mitigation, Baruch's lawyer Khamid Khodzhanazarov said his client was sure the girl was over 15 years old.

Mr Khodzhanazarov previously told East2West News: "He made friends with her online, her date of birth was put there as October 22, 1998.

"I have saved the screenshots of her page and they are attached to the criminal case file.

"In reality, she is younger, her date of birth is October 22, 2001. My client had no idea she was so young."

The laws under which he was charged relate to children aged below 15, according to Kazakh media reports.

Last month, Kazakh media outlet Tengri News reported that Baruch's parents had sent a letter to the Prosecutor’s Office of Uralsk, requesting a pardon for their son. Prosecutor Aidyn Rashidov said his parents asked the office to consider their son's family circumstances and his two children.

Baruch's father, Dr John Baruch, an expert in astronomy and technology at Bradford University, did not want to comment when contacted by the Telegraph & Argus yesterday.

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We can confirm the detention of a British national in Kazakhstan on Friday 7 February 2014. Consular officials are in contact with the Kazakh authorities and are providing assistance to the British national."

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