Saturday, August 18, 2012

Disabled Muslim woman's marriage should be annulled: UK court

A British family court has ruled that the forced marriage of a Bangladeshi Muslim woman with learning difficulties should be annulled as she does not have the ability to consent.
The parents of the woman, who are British citizens, arranged for their daughter to marry a man in Bangladesh although she can barely speak and can do almost nothing for herself.
Her husband, a cousin, obtained a spousal visa and came to Britain where he shared the woman's bed for months until social workers got wind of the situation, the Daily Mail reported.
The judge ruled that, under English law, the woman - referred to in court on as DD - simply has no legal capacity 'at the most basic level' either to marry or have sexual relations of any kind.
Justice Parker ruled that DD's marriage could not be recognised in English law, but acknowledged the parents of DD were 'devoted' to their daughter.
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 woman's parents, who speak very little English, begged Justice Parker not to annul the marriage, saying that, in their culture, disabled children are often found spouses so that they can be provided for.
Despite recognising the parents' genuine love for their daughter, the judge ruled: "In my view a marriage with an incapacitated person who is unable to consent is a forced marriage within the meaning of the Forced Marriage Act 2007."

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