A 34-year-old man from Cardiff has become the first person to be jailed in the UK under forced marriage laws that came into practice a year ago.

At Merthyr Crown Court in Wales it was revealed that the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, subjected a 25-year-old woman to years of abuse, systematic rape and blackmail before making her marry him under duress last year.

He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

The court heard that the 34-year-old raped his victim for months and placed hidden cameras in the shower, threatening to make the footage public if she refused to marry him. He also threatened to kill her family members if she told anyone of the abuse.

The woman was lured into the man’s home under the impression that he was having a get-together with friends, but when she arrived the property was empty and her attacker drew the curtains and locked the doors.

He bound and gagged his victim, a devout Muslim woman, with scarves and played loud music in a bid to drown out her cries.

During the court hearing, the man admitted to four counts of rape, forced marriage, bigamy and voyeurism.

Lian Penhale of South Wales Police Department, said: “I hope that today’s (Wednesday 10th June 2015) sentencing will act as a catalyst to empower victims and those at risk to come forward and enable the police and our partners to give them the support they need to ensure they’re free from this criminal activity – and to bring the offenders to justice,” she said.

“We know that victims and witnesses will be concerned, and therefore we want victims and those at risk to know that allegations will be treated in the strictest confidence and in a safe and sensitive manner. We also understand and recognise that victims [and] those at risk may not want to demonise or otherwise criminalise their families, community or faith group.

“Our priority is to keep victims, and those at risk, safe. South Wales police is committed to protecting and upholding the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all. If anyone is worried about the threat of a forced marriage they should contact the police, the UK forced marriage unit or one of the specialist agencies that support victims and potential victims of forced marriage.”

Sources:
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/10/34-year-old-man-first-person-to-be-convicted-under-forced-marriage-laws.


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