Brit doctor beaten, held as forced marriage hostage by family

A London trainee GP has been beaten and withheld hostage by her family who are forcibly trying to marry her to a stranger in Bangladesh.

Dr Humayra Abedin, who has remained a prisoner since August by her parents, is believed to have been gagged, tied and violently struck to make her submit to her parents’ wishes.

The 33-year-old had trained as a doctor in Bangladesh and arrived in England to pursue her studies at Leeds University, reports the Independent.

Dr. Abedin, who had made East London her home while working in hospitals since 2002, is said to have developed a close bond with a Hindu Bangladeshi man – an act vehemently opposed by her Muslim family.

She had been baited to fly to Dhaka on the pretext of her mother’s illness where the family has ignored orders from the Bangladeshi high court to release their girl.

The daughter of a retired businessman and a housewife has been held captive since August 5 while being denied any contact with friends or attorneys though she managed to send an email to a close pal describing her plight.

Anne-Marie Hutchinson, the barrister from Renaissance Chambers acting for Dr Abedin, said: There are real concerns for the safety of this young woman. These proceedings will not end until she is produced.

If we are too late and she has been married, it [the Forced Marriage Act] will help us to bring nullity proceedings for her.

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Nojoud, 8, gets divorce granted after forced marriage

A Yemeni court on Tuesday granted a divorce to an eight-year-old girl whose unemployed father forced her into an arranged marriage this year, saying he feared she might be kidnapped.”I am happy that I am divorced now. I will be able to go back to school,” Nojud Mohammed Ali said, after a public hearing in Sanaa’s court of first instance.

Her former husband, 28-year-old Faez Ali Thameur, said he married the child “with her consent and that of her parents” but that he did not object to her divorce petition.

In response to a question from Judge Mohammed al-Qadhi, he acknowledged that the “marriage was consummated, but I did not beat her.”

Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries, has no law governing the minimum age of marriage.

Nojud was a second grader in primary school when the marriage took place two and a half months ago.

“They asked me to sign the marriage contract and remain in my father’s house until I was 18. But a week after signing, my father and my mother forced me to go live with him.”

Nojud’s father, Mohammad Ali Al-Ahdal, said he had felt obliged to marry off his daughter, an act he claims she consented to.

He said he was frightened after his oldest daughter had been kidnapped several years ago and later married to her abductor. He said the same man then kidnapped another of his daughters who was already married and had four children, resulting in him being jailed.

Dressed in traditional black, Nojud said she would now go to live in the home of her maternal uncle and did not want to see her father.

The girl’s lawyer, Shadha Nasser, said Nojud’s case was not unique. “I believe there are thousands of similar cases,” she said, adding that civil society groups are pressing parliament to set the minimum age for marriage at 18.

Although this will not right the abuse against her it has put a stop to it. I hope others in her position can learn from her example to stand up for their own rights.

8-year-old girl asks for divorce in court (Yemen)

Brave Nojoud Muhammed Nasser YT
(Photo by Hamed Thabet)

SANA’A, April 9 – An eight-year-old girl decided last week to go the Sana’a West Court to prosecute her father, who forced her to marry a 30-year-old man.

Nojoud Muhammed Nasser arrived at court by herself on Wednesday, April 2, looking for a judge to handle her case against her father, Muhammed Nasser, who forced her two months ago to marry Faez Ali Thamer, a man 22 years her senior. The child also asked for a divorce, accusing her husband of sexual and domestic abuse.

According to Yemeni law, Nojoud cannot prosecute, as she is underage. However, court judge Muhammed Al-Qathi heard her complaint and subsequently ordered the arrests of both her father and husband.

“My father beat me and told me that I must marry this man, and if I did not, I would be raped and no law and no sheikh in this country would help me. I refused but I couldn’t stop the marriage,” Nojoud Nasser told the Yemen Times. “I asked and begged my mother, father, and aunt to help me to get divorced. They answered, ‘We can do nothing. If you want you can go to court by yourself.’ So this is what I have done,” she said.

Nasser said that she was exposed to sexual abuse and domestic violence by her husband. “He used to do bad things to me, and I had no idea as to what a marriage is. I would run from one room to another in order to escape, but in the end he would catch me and beat me and then continued to do what he wanted. I cried so much but no one listened to me. One day I ran away from him and came to the court and talked to them.”

“Whenever I wanted to play in the yard he beat me and asked me to go to the bedroom with him. This lasted for two months,” added Nasser. “He was too tough with me, and whenever I asked him for mercy, he beat me and slapped me and then used me. I just want to have a respectful life and divorce him.”

Nasser’s uncle, who does not want to reveal his name, is following the case now as her guardian. According to her uncle, after Muhammed Nasser, the girl’s father, lost his job as a garbage truck driver in Hajjah, he became a beggar, and soon after suffered from mental problems.

Thamer is in jail now. “Yes I was intimate with her, but I have done nothing wrong, as she is my wife and I have the right and no one can stop me,” he said. “But if t

The husband YT Photo by Hamed Thabet

he judge or other people insist that I divorce her, I will do it, it’s ok.”

So far, no accusations have been made against her father, who was later released due to health problems, or Nasser’s husband, who will remain in jail for further investigation.

“So far there is no case and no charges, as Nojoud arrived by herself to court asking just for a divorce,“ said Shatha Ali Nasser, a lawyer in the Supreme Court who is following Nojoud Nasser’s story.

Shatha Ali Nasser confirmed that item number 15 in Yemeni civil law reads that “no girl or boy can get married before the age of 15.” However, this item was amended in 1998 so parents could make a contract of marriage between their children even if they are under the age of 15. But the husband cannot be intimate with her until she is ready or mature,” said Nasser.“This law is highly dangerous because it brings an end to a young girl’s happiness and future fruitful life. Nojoud did not get married, but she was raped by a 30-year old man.”

Nasser confirmed that Nojoud Nasser’s case is not the first of its kind in Yemen, but it is the first time that a girl went to court by herself to ask for a divorce.

“We are not planning to return Nojoud to her family. Who knows? Maybe after a few years the same thing will happen to her again,” said Shatha Ali Nasser. “We are planning to put her in Dar Al-Rahama [an non-governmental organization that works with children], where she can have a better life and education. We do not want her family to pay her expenses, as they are poor.”

Congratulations to this young girl for standing up for herself and her rights as a human.

Article source: Yemen Times