London-based doctor saved from forced marriage in Bangladesh

December 15th, 2008 - 2:39 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 15 (IANS) A London-based doctor, who was held captive by her parents in Bangladesh to force her into a marriage of their choice, has been freed and is returning to Britain. A court in Bangladesh Sunday ordered Dr. Humayrah Abedin’s parents to return her passport and ticket to her.

The case sets a precedent in Bangladesh and it is also one of the first cases in Britain where action was taken under the Forced Marriages Act, which became law last month.

Humayrah, who came to the UK as a student six years ago and is shortly to be registered as a general practitioner in London, was lured to Bangladesh three months ago on the pretext that her mother was ill.

Upon her return, her parents reportedly held her captive, intending to marry her off to a person of their choice. They were not happy with her relationship with a Hindu Bangladeshi, who works as an engineer in London.

Humayrah somehow managed to email her friends in London about her plight. The London police started a search for her and later, the British Foreign Office issued a notice under the new Forced Marriages Act.

Acting on the notice, a Bangladesh court asked her parents to appear before it. They ignored three court orders before finally appearing Sunday.

The judge also confirmed no action would be taken against her parents, partly in respect of their daughter’s wishes.

“But I am saying what you have done to her is not acceptable,” he told them. “If there are further problems, you will be in big trouble.”

The Independent has reported that Humayrah’s boyfriend claimed his family had received death threats and her parents told her “they would prefer her to die than return to London”.

But now Humayrah’s lawyer has said she is free and will return to London shortly.

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