Parents found guilty of trying to force daughter to marry cousin

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A man and woman have been convicted of forced marriage after luring their daughter to Bangladesh in a bid to wed the 19-year-old to her first cousin.

The teenager had previously told a jury at Leeds Crown Court that she had to endure "physical abuse" as her parents, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pressured her into going through with the plan.

In a pre-recorded interview, the victim claimed she was left "almost suicidal" by the incident, and that she was told she would have to have a baby with the family member once she married him.

On Tuesday, a jury of 11 men and one woman convicted the girl's parents of forced marriage.

They were also found guilty of one count of using violence, threats or coercion to force their daughter into marriage, following a three-week trial.

The verdict came less than a week after a woman was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Birmingham Crown Court after forcing her daughter to marry in Pakistan, in the first successful prosecution of its type.

Jurors in the Leeds case heard that the girl's parents had told her they were going on a six-week holiday to Bangladesh to visit relatives and celebrate Eid.

However, just days after arriving on July 3 2016, she was told by her father that he had found a husband for her.

"He said 'I have planned this for years, the guy is really suitable, I've given him money for university, and he's a really attractive guy for round here'," the victim told the court.

"He was trying to get me to say yes, but at no point did I say yes. I thought it was disgusting because it was my first cousin and stood my ground."

With the help of her younger sister, she was able to contact the British High Commission, who rescued her days before the wedding was due to take place.

She also contacted her boyfriend, who was able to alert other authorities of the situation.

Her parents will be sentenced at the same court on June 18.