Dr Humayra Abedin, a trainee general practitioner with the UK's NHS, has at last been released following a directive from Bangladeshi High Court. She had been held captive by her own parents for four months and subjected to violent beatings.
She was even on the verge of committing suicide, she had said in an e-mail during her captivity.
AdvertisementShe was lured to Bangladesh by her parents after she rejected their choice of her future husband and was imprisoned in her Dhaka home. Following intense campaigning by human rights activists, the court stepped in.
Dr Abedin's parents were ordered to hand over her passport, and she was given a police escort to the British High Commission. She was understood to be staying with friends tonight before flying home to London.
Justice Syed Mohmed Hossain said: 'Children are not the slaves of their parents. They must have their own freedoms. If I were to reveal what Humayra has said in her statement then her parents would be in trouble. What I have heard reminds me of the dark times, the old ages we had in Bangladesh.'
He added: 'She requested the court not to put her parents in trouble because of what they did to her.
'But I am saying what you (the parents) have done to her is not acceptable. If there's any further problem you will be in big trouble.'
Dr Abedin trained as a doctor in Bangladesh before coming to Britain in 2002, when she studied for a Masters in public health at Leeds University. She trained at Whipps Cross Hospital in East London and was due to start in a GP's surgery in August.
The alleged kidnapping happened in August when Dr Abedin visited Bangladesh after hearing her mother was ill.
It is also believed Dr Abedin's parents fed her sedatives and admitted her to a hospital under false claims she was suffering a psychiatric illness.
Previously they had refused to bring the 32-year-old to court on five separate occasions, claiming she was mentally incapacitated.
As the court convened today there were fears she would again fail to appear. However, she was ushered in at around 11.45am amid much pushing and shoving.
As the judge delivered his verdict, her father Mohammad Abedin broke down in tears and began wailing while Dr Abedin sat passively at the front of the court.
After the ruling, she told reporters: 'I'm relieved that I'm free, I'm happy. I just want to say thank you to all those who supported and helped me.† I'm fine and I'm feeling happy. I don't have any bad feelings towards them, they are my parents so I don't have any bad feelings.'
After speaking to Dr Abedin before take-off yesterday, her UK lawyer Anne-Marie Hutchinson said: 'She's fine, but obviously exhausted and was anxious to leave before people changed their minds.'
Dr Abedin's Hindu boyfriend in London said her parents assaulted her to get her to end their relationship and marry a fellow Muslim.
The software engineer, who is afraid to reveal his identity, became gravely concerned for her safety after the doctor made a secret call pleading to be rescued.
The 44-year-old Hindu Bangladeshi, who was living with Dr Abedin in East Ham, said: 'She was begging me to help her.'
Forced marriages remain commonplace in Bangladesh, activists say. The British High Commission in Dhaka said it assisted in 56 cases between April 2007 and March 2008.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: 'Forced marriage is an appalling and indefensible practice that the government is working hard to stop.'
Lawyer Sara Hossain said: 'The High Court has issued an order under the Forced Marriage Act that she must be released by her family and allowed to return to the UK.
'She's free to go, she's been set at liberty and she wants to return to the UK. We're delighted with the result, the rights of a Bangladeshi woman have been protected as they should be.
'Dr Abedin looks very relieved, she's a very brave woman.'
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