Friday, April 1, 2016

Man convicted for enslaving wife

A man has been jailed after he forced his wife to carry out household chores and regularly battered and threatened to kill her.

Victim Samara Iram desperately tried to take her own life after she was imprisoned, beaten and forced to carry out chores from 5am until midnight each day, Woolwich Crown Court heard.

Safraz Ahmed, 34, of Elliscombe Road, Charlton, was jailed for two years today, after he admitted conspiracy to hold a person in domestic servitude and assault causing actual bodily harm.


Ahmed, who was also issued with a restraining order, is believed to be the first husband to be convicted of holding his wife in domestic slavery.

After the sentence, Damaris Lakin, CPS London reviewing lawyer, said: "This is a ground-breaking case which demonstrates how far we have come in tackling modern-day slavery.

"We believe this is the first conviction in England and Wales of a husband for holding his wife in servitude."

The abuse began after Ahmed brought his bride over from Pakistan to the UK in December 2012 - having agreed to an arranged marriage in the country.

Safraz Ahmed, 34, from south-east London, is first Briton to be convicted of forcing a spouse into domestic servitude Miss Iram was 18 when she wed Ahmed, a British Pakistani who ran his own car garage, in an arranged marriage in 2006 near Gujrat in Punjab.

Ahmed returned to the UK but she remained in Pakistan to complete her master's degree in Islamic studies before coming to Britain on a spouse's visa in 2012.

During the court case case, prosecutor Caroline Haughey told Woolwich Crown Court: "She expected to enter a harmonious household where she would be treated equally.

"It became clear the purpose of the marriage was not a traditional one of an equal one.

"Or rather in the word of her husband he told her he married her so she can look after his mother and his house."

Ahmed's frustrations escalated when she asked him for sex after a wedding ceremony in Britain, the court heard. Miss Haughey said: "His reaction was to slap her across the face, pull her hair and push her and called her a whore and a bitch and a shameless person."

He also sent her vile text messages and became particularly angered when she called him "hubby".

He replied: "Stop calling me hubby. You p*** me off."

Miss Haughey described one of the incidents when Ahmed attacked Miss Iram.

She said: "Police were called to the family address by a next door neighbour. They saw her standing in the street in clothing inappropriate for the time of year.

"She was dragged back in the house by her hair.

"She had a black eye resulting from damage to her nose. The doctors said it was more serious than a fracture and she required surgery."

As he dragged her bleeding back into the house a neighbour, model Hannah Ridgeway, heard him say, "I'm going to kill you. I'm going to f***ing kill you".

At her wits end she took an overdose of on August 17, 2014, and showed her family what she had taken, the court heard.

They encouraged her to be sick and Ahmed told her "It doesn't make any difference to him watching her die".

The next day "feeling she was imprisoned in her own home" she called police and they took her to a council-run women's refuge and arrested him.

A psychologist diagnosed Ms Iram as suffering from PTSD and the court was read an emotional extract from her victim statement.

In it she said: "I was a fun loving, athletic and free-thinking and confident girl.

"Those qualities were beaten out of me systematically. It felt the only purpose of my life was to serve these people."

Cathy Ryan, in mitigation, said Ahmed was pressured into the marriage by his parents.

She said: "This case concerns a marriage that failed.

"Mr Ahmed was frustrated by the position he found himself in. It's right to say she felt the brunt of this frustration.

"At 25 he was under pressure to get married from his parents. He resigned himself to an arranged marriage and attempted to make the best of it."

Miss Ryan said the victim came from a well-to-do family in Pakistan and was disappointed by her life in the UK.

She said: "She found herself the wife of a mechanic in Charton where money was much tighter than she expected."

But Judge Hehir said: "It has been suggested to an extent you felt trapped in a marriage which was a mismatch and you lashed out as a result.

"If you were frustrated the thing to do was to seek a dissolution of the marriage not to resort to making your wife a skivvy."

He ordered Ahmed to serve eight months imprisonment for ABH to run concurrently with two years in jail for domestic servitude.

His mother, Zarina, brother, Viseem, and sister-in-law, Deena Patel, were cleared of the same offence after no evidence was offered against them.

Ahmed, of Elliscombe Road, was charged under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 because the offences took place before the new law with tougher penalties was introduced last year.

The officer who oversaw the 18-month investigation hailed it as a "landmark case" and hopes other wives suffering in servitude will now come forward.

Detective Sergeant Pal Singh also praised Sumara Iram for assisting police to convict her ex-husband Safraz Ahmed of domestic servitude.

But he admitted the police could have rescued her sooner after witnesses saw her being dragged by the hair by her husband.

Police spoke to the victim but she withdrew her complaint and no further action was taken until she took an overdose six months later.

DS Singh said: "There are lessons that the police can learn to improve their procedures, I can say with the benefit of hindsight.

"This case could have perhaps been better placed for the victim if it had started in February 2014 when she first came to police attention as opposed to the following six months she had to endure the physical and mental abuse that you have heard about in court."

Source: Mirror

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