How many others like Humayra Abedin are there in the U.K.? Or would asking that question be “Islamophobic?”
“London doctor is held as forced marriage hostage,” from The Independent, December 7 (thanks to Fugue):
British lawyers were this weekend working frantically to rescue a London doctor who has been beaten and held captive in Bangladesh in an attempt to force her into marriage. Dr Humayra Abedin, known as Dorothy to her friends, this weekend faces being forced to marry a complete stranger, unless efforts by lawyers to free her, using new powers, succeed.
Dr Abedin is being held hostage by her family in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, where she is thought to have been gagged, bound and violently beaten to get her to comply with her parents’ wishes. The 33-year-old trainee GP is depressed, suicidal and without hope, according to an email she managed to send to a close friend last Friday. This is the first time friends have heard from Dr Abedin for more than three months.
Her parents and uncle were yesterday served with a Forced Marriage Order issued by the British High Court on Friday. Dr Abedin, who has worked as a doctor in the Britain since 2002, is among the first cases to be heard under the Forced Marriage Act which came into force on 25 November. The move came after the family ignored orders from the Bangladeshi high court to bring Dr Abedin to court.
The new legislation allows judges to issue protection orders to prevent forced marriage and help to rescue victims who have already been married off. Those convicted of forcing people into marriage can be jailed for up to two years.
Anne-Marie Hutchinson, the barrister from Renaissance Chambers acting for Dr Abedin, said: “There are real concerns for the safety of this young woman. It is understood that she is to be married this weekend. The Forced Marriage Act offers protection to all residents of this country. It makes it clear that because she lives here it is not just a domestic matter for the Bangladesh authorities.”
While the Act is not enforceable in Bangladesh, lawyers for Dr Abedin are confident it will strengthen the resolve of the authorities in Dhaka.
The only child of Mohammed Joynal Abedin, a retired businessman, and his wife, a housewife, Dr Abedin trained as a doctor in Bangladesh and then came to England in 2002 to study at Leeds University. She has since set up home in Leyton, east London ,while working in hospitals across the capital. Dr Abedin is described by friends as an intelligent young woman who loves Bollywood films and Hindi music. She is only a year away from qualifying as a GP.
Her Muslim family became incensed after she developed a close friendship with a Hindu Bangladeshi man she met in London. Since May, they have made several attempts to keep her away from him and to force her into marriage. The Metropolitan Police launched an inquiry at the end of June, after she was held captive in her flat by her mother and uncle, who visited for several days. Her case has also been taken up by Interpol.
Her family duped her into returning to Bangladesh in August, by claiming her mother was seriously ill. They then hid her passport and plane ticket, and have held her captive since 5 August. She has been subjected to physical and psychological violence and denied contact with friends or lawyers. There are also unconfirmed claims that Dr Abedin has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital at the wishes of her parents, who have insinuated in court that her relationship with a Hindu man is a sign of mental illness. […]