UK Muslim jailed for keeping his wife in a state of slavery

UK Muslim jailed for keeping his wife in a state of slavery April 2, 2016

In what is believed to be the first trial of its kind in Britain, Safraz Ahmed, 34, above, pleaded guilty to keeping his wife, Sumara Iram, in domestic servitude, subjecting her to ‘violence, intimidation, aggression and misery’.
According to this report, Ahmed was jailed for two years and was given an additional eight-month sentence for assault causing actual bodily harm for breaking her nose. The sentences will run concurrently, meaning he could be free within 12 months – less than half the time that Iram lived under his control.
Prosecutors and police said they hoped the case of Ahmed, a mechanic from south London who abused, demeaned and taunted Sumara Iram over a two-year period, could see more potential victims come forward.
Ahmed subjected Iram to “physical and mental torture” after she came to the UK from Pakistan in late 2012 for an arranged marriage into which she entered willingly and with initially high hopes, Woolwich crown court was told. She came from a well-educated, liberal background, the court heard.
Ahmed struck his wife, threw tins of cat food at her, sent streams of abusive and demeaning text messages, and once told her to jump in front of a vehicle or into a river, the judge, Christopher Hehir, was told.
In her victim impact statement, Iram said:

Because the beatings happened regularly and for such small things I felt worthless. I was not allowed to do what I wanted to do, I was never allowed to step out of the house alone and I was not allowed to make friends, which means I was never allowed to socialise; I felt like their prisoner.
I cooked, I cleaned, I washed, I ironed, looked after other people’s children and when things were not to the liking of the family I was punished by beatings. I felt that there was only one purpose of my life and that was to serve this family.

Said Damaris Lakin, a lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service:

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.

Lakin added that prosecutors were:

Committed to working with the police and other partner agencies to bring the perpetrators of modern day slavery to justice and support victims to help them through the prosecution process and beyond in the hope that they can rebuild their lives.

Outlining the prosecution case, Caroline Haughey said the pair had married in Pakistan in 2006 when Iram, now 29, was a teenager. After a delay caused by her studies and visa issues she flew to London in late 2012, anticipating:

An harmonious household where she was an equal.

Instead, Ahmed:

Told her he had married her so she could look after his mother and his home.

Haughey described the physical and mental abuse Ahmed meted out, which she said had left Iram, who has an MA in Islamic studies, with post-traumatic stress disorder. She was forced to cook, clean and carry out other domestic duties in days often lasting from 5am to midnight.

It was an atmosphere of fear, constantly punctuated by violence.

Ahmed had once hit his wife for, as he viewed it, failing to tend properly to his sister, the court heard. If the family told her to “stand on one leg” she should do it without question, she said.
Iram came to police attention in February 2014 after neighbours saw her outside the family home in just a dress and flip-flops, before her husband dragged her back inside by her hair.
Officers realised she had a broken nose and black eye and arrested Ahmed, but they released him the next day when Iram signed a document asking for him to be freed, saying she was not under pressure.
Following the conviction police accepted they could have removed Iram then, sparing her another 18 months with her husband.
DS Pal Singh of the Metropolitan police said:

There are always lesson that the police can learn to improve their practices. 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.

She eventually left the house in August 2015 after an incident where she tried to kill herself. She phoned the police, who persuaded her to go to a refuge.
Polly Harrar, the founder of the Sharan Project, which helps victims of forced marriages from south Asian communities, said the conviction suggested there were large numbers of victims living similarly restricted lives in the UK.

This case will open the door to more prosecutions. This woman was restricted in terms of going outside the home. She was brought here to be a slave in effect. This is just the tip of an iceberg. We have dealt with many similar cases. This case is really good for raising awareness of the problem.

Offering mitigation for Ahmed, Cathy Ryan said he changed his mind during the gap between their marriage in Pakistan and her arrival in the UK. He was frustrated at the marriage, Ryan said, adding:

It’s right to say that Sumara bore the brunt of this frustration.

Singh, who led the investigation after Iram finally fled the family home in Charlton, south-east London, said it was likely many more such cases existed, and appealed for victims to contact police.

We can help, and as the judge said today, the courts do not accept cultural differences for offending. Neither should the police.

Police have asked the media to not print images of her lest she face retribution.
Hat tip: AgentCormac

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  • AgentCormac

    Pity it wasn’t a much harsher sentence.

  • Broga

    Pitiless thug. Ten years would have been more appropriate. I suppose it is a start. Time the courts started handing out tough sentences to the brutes inflicting FGM on baby girls.

  • Stephen Mynett

    “Offering mitigation for Ahmed, Cathy Ryan said he changed his mind during the gap between their marriage in Pakistan and her arrival in the UK. He was frustrated at the marriage.”
    A normal person would have considered divorce the best option but then he belongs to a religion which probably considers cattle more valuable than women so it is not a great surprise.
    Agree with other posts, it should have been a harsher sentence. It now remains to be seen whether more cases like this and, as Broga mentioned, FGM are followed up by the police. We have pussy-footed around religion for far too long and it should be time to ignore cultural relativism and look at these things for what they are, unspeakable and unnecessary brutality.

  • Newspaniard

    Closure of the Sharia courts and prosecutions for bigamy plus deportations of illegals will all improve the situation particularly in UK No-Go areas.

  • sailor1031

    “A normal person would have considered divorce the best option”. True, especially as divorce is so easy for a muslim husband to get. But he’s just lying here, through his attorney who should be disciplined by the bar association; what he wanted was a slave and he had no intention of getting rid of her.

  • barriejohn

    Newspaniard: What “No-Go Areas”? This was another myth invented by the Daily Mail to frighten its readers, and perpetuated by right-wing politicians. The real problem is groups who refuse to involve the police when crimes are committed, preferring to police themselves, and that doesn’t only apply to Muslim communities. The biggest “no-go area” appears to be the Roman Catholic Church!

  • Muslims doing what Muslims do. The difference? One of them got a taste of non-Muslim freedom in non-Muslim England.
    Perhaps keeping England from being a Muslim would be a good idea for those in England. It would be a bad idea for Muslims, though.

  • I hope Ahmed won’t find Iram when he gets out of prison in a year.

  • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews

    It won’t send a signal to others that such behaviour won’t be tolerated as those who are its victims are likely denied sight of any media that might allow them to understand their situation. Somehow, we need as a society to communicate with the victims ofnthis kind of crime. As I understand it, women in mosques for Friday prayers are kept separate from the menfolk but have the sermon relayed through loudspeakers. There must be a way of bypassing the usual wiring and giving them sermons about how they can break free from the shackles of their loveless existence. Surely?

  • RussellW

    “The real problem is groups who refuse to involve the police when crimes are committed, preferring to police themselves”
    Or preferring not to police themselves because the members of the group don’t consider that a crime has been committed, such as treating their wives as slaves, Kuffar law doesn’t apply. That seems somewhat ‘no-go’ to me.

  • barriejohn

    Yes, but “No Go Area” carries different implications.

  • John the Drunkard

    A Master’s degree in ‘Islamic Studies.’
    So why didn’t she ‘splain to her in-laws that they weren’t Real Muslims?

  • Great Satan

    So now the British taxpayer has to pay to keep him in jail, when he gets out they will be forced to pay his welfare benefits and he will be free to abuse other women and commit other crimes – he should be stripped of his citizenship and deported, such islamic behaviour is entirely unnacceptable in a democratic and civilised society – one which previous generations fought for and which now is being given up to islam in a craven and disgusting way.

  • barriejohn

    Great Satan: You’re assuming that he was born in Pakistan, but I don’t see evidence of that. It was his wife who came to Britain after the marriage.
    I agree with Ophelia Benson that Iram isn’t going to be exactly safe when he is released from prison, so I wonder what steps will be taken to protect her from reprisals.
    (Still not receiving notifications from this site, even though I subscribe to all posts.)

  • Libertarian

    Let’s not pretend that Islam, and its attitude to women, is not at the heart of this.

  • Great Satan

    Barrie John – I’m not necessarily assuming he was born in Pakistan, but it is his country of origin and given his behaviour, it is obvious he has “voted with his feet” (or rather fists) that he does not really want to be a member of our civilised democratic country, and we would be happier if he was deported back to Pakistan.

  • Philip Smeeton

    Any intelligent and objective person has to admit that Islam is the most dangerous, violent and discriminating religion. It is Muslims that are murdering and maiming innocents, not people from other religions or non-believers. All of the terrorists are inspired by the teachings of Mohammed. The West should never have gone into Muslim countries with military force, thus giving Muslims justification for the terror. But if we had not intervened, we would have been faced with organized islamic states that did possess WMDs, including nuclear weapons. Yes Bush did lie, but these weapons were under development and desired by terrorist states, that were prepared to use them at whatever cost to themselves. The objective being destruction of the West, and everything non-Muslim or free, by all and any means. Muslims do not care whether they live or die, they think that killing us gives them a special place and great rewards in Paradise.

  • sailor1031

    Just because there are supposedly no “no go” zones in teh UK doesn’t mean there are no problems:
    If this report is only half-true Britain’s future looks grim indeed.

  • Cali Ron

    Great Satan : By definition you can not deport someone to a country they are not from. If he was born in the UK then he is the UK’S problem and you can not just send them to another country. There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. Deporting them is not realistic and wouldn’t solve the “Muslim problem “. Radical Islam is a complicated problem that won’t be solved by simple platitudes.