A Bangladeshi doctor whose parents held her captive for four months in Dhaka says she wants to get on with her life after a court ruled she be freed to return to her home in Britain.
Humayra Abedin, 32, was taken from the court to the British High Commission in Dhaka under heavy police escort and was expected to leave Bangladesh for Britain.
“I am really happy. I am really relieved and obviously I would like to have some privacy,” she said after Judge Syed Mahmod Hossain also ordered Humayra’s parents return her passport, driver’s licence and credit card.
“I just want to look forward. I have my job so I just want to move forward with my life,” Humayra told AFP over the telephone from Dhaka, where the judge said she had been held against her will.
She said she had no idea until she appeared in court of the intense media interest in her case, adding she did not know what would come of her relationship with her parents.
Humayra travelled to Bangladesh on August 3 after she was told by family members that her mother was seriously ill.
She had planned to return to Britain soon after, but informed a female cousin that her family were holding her captive and planned to force her to marry a stranger.
Humayra – an only child – reportedly has a Hindu boyfriend in London, which has angered her Muslim family.
“It perplexes me as to why the parents kept her confined and interfered with her personal life,” said Judge Hossain. “I am shocked.”
Her father Joynal wailed loudly following the verdict and had to be propped up as he left the courtroom.
Outside the courthouse he told AFP he and his wife had done nothing wrong.
“She has not been held captive. These allegations are all false,” he said.
Humayra’s lawyer, Sara Hossain, said after the verdict: “Our courts have shown that we can guarantee the liberty of our citizens. This is quite a precedent.”
Her parents returned to the court with her passport within an hour of the judge’s ruling but said they did not have her driver’s licence or credit card. […]
Last month, the British government introduced a law allowing courts to stop forced marriages and provide protection to British nationals who have been married against their will.
Lawyers in Britain had filed a case in London on Humayra’s behalf under the new Forced Marriage Act, on the basis she was a resident of that country. Humayra is however not a British national.
The British High Commission in Dhaka said it assisted in 56 forced marriage cases between April 2007 and March 2008.