Bangladesh Court Respects End To Forced Marriage Law

A Bangladesh woman who works for the British National Health Service had her forced marriage voided by a Bangladesh court in response to requests by the United Kingdom that Dr. Humayra Abedin was being held against her will by members of the family. This is the first example in which a nation responded to a British request to void a forced marriage of a non-British national. Although Dr. Abedin is a Bangladesh citizen, she was placed under court protection until a representative of the UK came to assist her return to England. Justice Syed Mohmed Hossain told the court: “Children are not the slaves of their parents, they must have their own freedom.”

Dr. Abedin was lured to Bangladesh by reports her mother was ill and when she reached Bangladesh the family informed her they were going to marry her off. She was able to get off a text message to friends, “please help me. My life is in danger.” Parents fought to refuse bringing Dr. Abedin to court on grounds she was mentally incapacitated. When finally brought to court, Ms. Abedin made clear she did not wish to marry the man selected by her parents and wanted her freedom. That freedom has now been restored.