Al­i­cante teen es­capes ar­ranged mar­riage

Stu­dent, 17, banned from leav­ing home with­out an adult rel­a­tive and had her mo­bile phone con­fis­cated

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - NEWS - By Saman­tha Kett

PAR­ENTS who tried to force their daugh­ter into mar­ry­ing a stranger 20 years her se­nior have been ar­rested in Al­i­cante, and the teenage vic­tim has been taken into care.

An un­der­cover po­lice op­er­a­tion was needed for the young woman, 17, to give a state­ment, since her move­ments were so tightly con­trolled she was un­able to leave the fam­ily home with­out adult su­per­vi­sion.

Born in Al­i­cante to Moroc­can par­ents, the woman was forced to ad­here to the fam­ily's ex­tremely con­ser­va­tive val­ues, in­clud­ing wear­ing a hi­jab or head­scarf when­ever she left the house, not be­ing al­lowed to wear 'western' clothes, her mo­bile phone be­ing in­spected con­stantly and fi­nally con­fis­cated, and banned from hav­ing friends or part­ners.

She was half­way through sixth form when her mother, fa­ther and elder brother an­nounced she was go­ing to be sent to Mo­rocco to marry a man aged 37 whom she had never met.

Her par­ents had stopped her from go­ing to school and would not let her out of the house un­less an adult male rel­a­tive was with her.

Af­ter plead­ing and beg­ging, her fam­ily re­luc­tantly per­mit­ted her to take her end-ofyear ex­ams, which she passed with fly­ing colours thanks to her con­sci­en­tious self-study – de­spite hav­ing missed more than half that year's classes.

When her forced wed­ding in Mo­rocco was con­firmed, the stu­dent was or­dered to speak to her fu­ture hus­band daily by tele­phone, al­though she says he 'did all the talk­ing'.

She at­tempted sui­cide and was ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal in a se­ri­ous con­di­tion in March.

The young woman spoke of re­peated vi­o­lence and threats by her brother, 29, when she fought against her fate.

Her par­ents and brother have been ar­rested and charged with do­mes­tic abuse, but were not ex­pected to be re­manded in cus­tody.

The vic­tim told po­lice she did not want to re­turn home 'un­der any cir­cum­stances' and wanted to con­tinue her ed­u­ca­tion, so she has been placed in a chil­dren's home for the time be­ing.

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