Disabled Bengali woman’s marriage to be annulled

August 17th, 2012 - 6:04 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 17 (IANS) A court in Britain has asked for the annulment of the “forced marriage” of a disabled Bengali-Muslim woman as she can barely speak and can do almost nothing for herself.

The woman - identified in court as DD - was married to her cousin from Bangladesh by her parents who are British citizens, the Daily Mail reported.

Her husband obtained a spousal visa and came to Britain where he shared the woman’s bed for months until social workers got information about the situation.

Police obtained a forced marriage protection order and the husband was warned that any sexual relations with the woman was likely to amount to a criminal offence.

The man was banned by a judge from the family home and from having any form of contact with the woman.

The woman’s parents asked the judge not to annul the marriage, saying that, in their culture, disabled children are often found spouses so that they can be provided for.

But the judge ruled that, under British law, the woman had no legal capacity “at the most basic level” either to marry or have sexual relations of any kind.

A marriage with an incapacitated person, unable to consent, is a forced marriage, the judge ruled.

The parents, said to be mistrustful of non-Bengalis, saw arranging their daughter’s marriage as part of their parental duty to ensure that she is cared for after they are no longer capable of looking after her themselves.

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