Pakistani man arrested before wedding in Britain

July 24th, 2010 - 1:34 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 24 (IANS) It didn’t turn out to be a dream wedding for a 32-year-old Pakistani man and his Czech bride as they were arrested moments ahead of what police called a “sham wedding”.
Abdul Majid from Pakistan and his bride, Andrea Kalejova, 22, were arrested by immigration officials from a registrar’s office in Manchester just before their nuptials began, on charges of conspiring to obtain a right to stay in Britain for Majid.

Bystanders watched in astonishment as the couple were led away from the Oxfordshire Register Office in handcuffs. They were questioned and ushered into cells where they spent two days waiting for their court date, the Daily Mail reported.

Kalejova was granted bail at the Magistrates’ Court in Manchester while Majid was remanded in custody till they appear before the Crown Court in September.

Their lawyer, however, said the couple genuinely wanted to marry and they would “strenuously” deny the charges.

Britain’s Immigration Minister Damian Green announced a crackdown on sham marriages earlier this week. He promised an overhaul of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), saying the government was determined to send out a signal that Britain was no longer a soft touch for those people who arrived illegally.

The number of sham weddings in Britain soared to 529 in 2009, a 54 percent rise from 2008’s figures.

An increasing number of EU citizens are marrying non-EU foreigners to help them settle in the country and enjoy the same rights as British nationals.

In June, a 19-year-old Polish woman and her Indian groom, Amrit Singh Dhanju, 30, were arrested on suspicion of perjury.

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