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Businessman is First Person Jailed Under Forced Marriage Laws

This article was originally published in The Guardian.

Merthyr crown court in Wales, where a man was jailed for 16 years for rape and forced marriage. Photograph: Benjamin Wright/PA

Merthyr crown court in Wales, where a man was jailed for 16 years for rape and forced marriage. Photograph: Benjamin Wright/PA

34-year-old from Cardiff subjected victim to years of abuse, systematic rape and blackmail involving hidden camera footage.

A businessman has become the first person in the UK to be jailed under forced marriage laws introduced a year ago.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Wednesday after making a 25-year-old woman marry him under duress last year.

The man, who was already married, “systematically” raped his victim for months, threatened to go public with hidden camera footage of her in the shower unless she became his wife, and threatened to kill members of her family if she told anyone of the abuse.

The 34-year-old developed an “irrational obsession” with his victim and lured her to his home under the promise of a get-together with friends, Merthyr crown court heard.

When she arrived at his home in Cardiff, the woman found the property empty before the curtains were drawn and the front door locked. The victim, a devout Muslim, was bound and gagged with scarves before music was played loudly to drown out her cries for help.

She was later shown secret footage of her showering and her attacker said he would make the video public unless she married him. The man admitted four counts of rape, forced marriage, bigamy and voyeurism.

Judge Daniel Williams said he used constant threats to keep his victim quiet. “When you first raped her, she was still a virgin – something which you would use to ensure her silence,” he said.

“After you had raped her, you produced a laptop, which had a video of her showering after you had installed a hidden camera in a towel rail. You threatened that if she disclosed the rape to anyone, you would make that video public.

“You made her feel that she was no longer marriage material [for anyone else] in the hope that she would turn to you.”

The court heard that after months of raping the woman, the man turned up at her work and drove her to a mosque to get married. “She was told that if she did not submit to your demands, her parents would be killed,” added Williams.

The court heard that the man had preyed on his victim for years and even managed to convince her that a then boyfriend of hers was gay after he set up a fake Facebook page.

The judge also described the man’s attempts to have his case thrown out by changing his plea several times as an “exercise of control” over the woman, in the hope that she would drop the case.

The trial ended on the second day, after the man pleaded guilty just before the victim was due to give evidence.

Williams told the man he is a high risk to women, adding: “While you have pleaded guilty … there has been no genuine show of remorse. “Over the period of which you raped her … it was your intention to cause her irreparable harm so that no one would want her.”

The man was also given an extended licence for five years on top of his jail sentence. He will remain on the sex offender register for “an indefinite period”.

Williams praised the victim’s bravery in coming forward, saying: “She has continued to show courage and fortitude … and the court wishes her good fortune for the future – which she so richly deserves.”

Forced marriage was criminalised under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, which came into force last June.

Iwan Jenkins, head of Crown Prosecution Wales’ rape and serious sexual offences unit, said: “Forced marriage wrecks lives and destroys families. We hope that today’s sentence sends a strong message that forced marriage will not be tolerated in today’s Britain.

“The victim has shown great courage and bravery in reporting these matters. This conviction illustrates the seriousness with which these crimes are treated and investigated by the Crown Prosecution Service and South Wales police.

“I hope today’s sentence brings some closure for those who have suffered as a result of these particularly nasty and invasive crimes.”

DS Lian Penhale, of South Wales police, described the case as legal milestone. “I hope that today’s sentencing will act as a catalyst to empower victims and those at risk to come forward and enable the police and our partners to give them the support they need to ensure they’re free from this criminal activity – and to bring the offenders to justice,” she said.

“We know that victims and witnesses will be concerned, and therefore we want victims and those at risk to know that allegations will be treated in the strictest confidence and in a safe and sensitive manner. We also understand and recognise that victims [and] those at risk may not want to demonise or otherwise criminalise their families, community or faith group.

“Our priority is to keep victims, and those at risk, safe. South Wales police is committed to protecting and upholding the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all. If anyone is worried about the threat of a forced marriage they should contact the police, the UK forced marriage unit or one of the specialist agencies that support victims and potential victims of forced marriage.”

Press Association.

 

Byadmin

Meetings

Date of meeting

Location of meeting

Name of person giving evidence

Organisation

Type of organisation

26/03/2013

London, House of Lords (HoL) Discussing Terms of Reference  Commission  

25/04/2013

London, HoL Chaz Akishole Forced Marriage Unit Government

25/04/2013

London, HoL Commander Makhdoom Chishti ACPO Police

25/04/2013

London, HoL DCI Sam Faulkner (Lead on FM)  Police Police

18/06/2013

 London, HoL Dr Ash Chand, Head of Strategy and Development Ethnic Minority Children NSPCC QUANGO

18/06/2013

London, HoL Baroness Afshar  House of Lords  Legislature

18/06/2013

London, HoL Dr Adi Cooper, Strategic Director Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS)  Local Government

07/10/2013

Leeds Kathy Rowe, Chair KN Karma Nirvana NGO

07/10/2013

Leeds Priya Manota Senior Call handler (KN) NGO

07/10/2013

Leeds Confidential Karma Nirvana Survivor

07/10/2013

Leeds Confidential Karma Nirvana Survivor

07/10/2013

Leeds Confidential Karma Nirvana Survivor

07/10/2013

Leeds Confidential Karma Nirvana Survivor

07/10/2013

Leeds Mariam Faruqi Observer Sturtivant & Co

31/10/2013

London Marilyn Freeman

Academic Expert

London Met University Research/Education

31/10/2013

London Rachel Clawson Anne Craft Trust NGO

27/11/2013

Leicester Batool Al Toma Islamic Foundation, National Project Manager Faith leader

27/11/2013

Leicester Sharen Ravat Leicester College Education

27/11/2013

Leicester Terri Harman Nelson’s Solicitors Legal

27/11/2013

Leicester Dilwar Hussein New Horizons in British Islam NGO

27/11/2013

Leicester Paul Fitzgerald Leicester LGBT Centre NGO

27/11/2013

Leicester Meena Kumari SAFE NGO

27/11/2013

Leicester Jo Fyson Police Police

27/11/2013

Leicester Joanne Orton Reunite NGO

27/11/2013

Leicester Rumeena STRIVE NGO

27/11/2013

Leicester Summaiya STRIVE NGO

18/12/2013

London IKWRO Nezahat Chehan Iranian Kurdish Womens Rights Organisation (IKWRO) NGO

18/12/2013

London “ Sarah Browne IKWRO NGO

18/12/2013

London ” Naseera IKWRO NGO

18/12/2013

London “ Confidential IKWRO Surivivor

18/12/2013

London “ Confidential IKWRO Surivivor

18/12/2013

London “ Confidential IKWRO Surivivor

18/12/2013

London “ Confidential IKWRO Surivivor

23/01/2014

London, HoL Prof. Ralph Grillo

Academic Expert

Sussex University Research/Education

23/01/2014

London “ Marai Larasi, Executive Director Imkaan NGO

23/01/2014

London “  Sumanta Roy Imkaan NGO

19/03/2014

London “  Pragna Patel Southall Black Sisters NGO

19/03/2014

London “ Jagbir Jhutti Johal Birmingham University Academic

16/06/2014

London, HoL Louise Butler – Lead on Violence Against Women’s and Girls Strategic Group and Safeguarding Adults Tri-Borough (Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster Government

16/06/2014

London, HoL Gourita Murdeshwar – Lead on Harmful Practices Westminster Social Services Westminster Social Services Government

30/07/2014

Newham

East Ham Town Hall

Kelly Simmons, Domestic and Sexual Violence Commissioner London Borough of Newham Government

30/07/2014

Newham Karen Bohen,  Senior Advisor on Safeguarding London Borough of Newham Government

30/07/2014

Newham Mandy Oliver, Senior Advisor on Safeguarding London Borough of Newham Government

30/07/2014

Newham Martin Clement – Senior Manager Assessment (Children) London Borough of Newham Government

30/07/2014

Newham Baljit Banga Newham Asian Womens Project NGO

30/07/2014

Newham Detective Inspector Duncan Platt, Community Safety Unit Metropolitan Police Police

30/07/2014

Newham Asha Jama – Specialist Manager Beverley Lewis House Housing

30/07/2014

Newham Su Buhi, CEO Anchal NGO

09/10/2014

House of Lords Natasha Rattu and two survivors (names withheld) Risk Assessment Presented by Karma Nirvana NGO

20/10/2014

Bradford Cllr Ralph Berry Bradford City Council Local Government

20/10/2014

Bradford Cllr David Green Leader of the Council, Council

20/10/2014

Bradford Cllr Imran Hussain, Lead on Safer and Stronger Communities Council

20/10/2014

Bradford Cllr Naveeda Ikram Council

20/10/2014

Bradford Chief Superintendent Simon Atkin: Overview West Yorkshire Police Police

20/10/2014

Bradford  Julie Jenkins Bradford Council Overview

Multi-agency procedures  – Adults and Children’s services

 

 

Assistant Director Children’s Services)

 

 

Council

20/10/2014

Bradford Mark Nicholas: Joint presentation with Julie Jenkins. (Safe Guarding Adults lead)

 

Council

20/10/2014

Bradford Val Balding

Context and scene setting

Bradford Coouncil (Domestic Violence Manager) Council

20/10/2014

Bradford Yasmin Khan

 

Staying Put Shelter/NGO

20/10/2014

Bradford Yvonne Hall

 

Palm Cove Society Shelter/NGO

20/10/2014

Bradford Faridah Shaikh Roshni Ghar  –

 

Shelter/NGO

20/10/2014

Bradford Hanifa Khan Family Action

 

NGO

20/10/2014

Bradford Joyce Simmons

 

Anah Project NGO

20/10/2014

Bradford  Lucy Cohen Wiliscroft Solicitors Legal professional

20/10/2014

Bradford Bana Gora

 

Muslim Women’s Council Civil Society

20/10/2014

Bradford 60. Rafiq Sehgal

 

Council for mosques Faith

20/10/2014

Bradford Tanvir Ahmed Bradford Police Police

20/10/2014

Bradford Lindsey Bridge

 

Training Local Gov

20/10/2014

Bradford Ian Day

 

Assistant Director Neighbourhoods

 

Local Gov

20/10/2014

Bradford Noreen Akhtar Domestic Violence Coordinator Local Gov

20/10/2014

Bradford Amria Khatun Strategy Officer (Stronger Communities)

 

Local Gov

26/05/2015

London, HoL Commission    

16/06/15

Cardiff Kate Bennett

 

Welsh Human Rights Commission  

16/06/15

Cardiff Jennifer Dunn Welsh Human Rights Commission  

16/06/15

Cardiff Tina Reece Welsh Women’s Aid NGO/Third Sector

16/06/15

Cardiff Miriam Elmirghani BAWSO NGO/Third Sector

16/06/15

Cardiff Mwenya Chimba BAWSO NGO/Third Sector

16/06/15

Cardiff Barbara Natasagara Safer Wales NGO/Third Sector

16/06/15

Cardiff Joanne Payton Cardiff University Education/Third Sector

16/06/15

Cardiff Zsanette Shashaty Welsh Government Government

16/06/15

Cardiff Stephen Chapman Welsh Government Government

16/06/15

Cardiff Confidential South Wales Police Police

16/06/15

Cardiff Confidential South Wales Police Police

16/06/15

Cardiff Confidential South Wales Police Police

16/06/15

Cardiff Neil Jenkins Dyfed and Powys Police Crime Commissioner Police

16/06/15

Cardiff Alison McDonald Vale of Glamorgan Council Local Government

16/06/15

Cardiff Stephanie Kendrick-Jones Cardiff and the Vale Local Government

16/06/15

Cardiff Jane Salisbury Cardiff and the Vale UHB Health/Government