Parents return passport to Bangladeshi doctor
By JULHAS ALAM,Associated Press Writer AP - 35 minutes ago
DHAKA, Bangladesh - The parents of a Bangladeshi doctor who allegedly held her captive at their home in Dhaka returned her passport Sunday so that she could travel back to Britain where she works, her lawyer said.
The Bangladesh High Court earlier Sunday ordered Humayra Abedin's parents to release her and return her passport, said her lawyer Sara Hossain. She will be under the care of the British High Commission in Dhaka, who will make arrangements for her stay, Hossain said.
The 33-year old Bangladeshi doctor and U.K. resident, who has been in Bangladesh since August, is expected to leave within four days, Hossain said.
"She's free to go. She's been set at liberty and she wants to return to the U.K," Hossain said. "We're delighted with the result. The rights of a Bangladeshi woman have been protected as they should be."
Judge Syed Mahmud Hossain said he would not reveal Abedin's closed door hearing testimony because it contained "objectionable elements."
"She requested the court not to put her parents in trouble because of what they did to her," the judge said. "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."
Abedin traveled to Dhaka in August in response to calls that her mother was ill, but following her arrival was confined against her will by her parents, Hossain said.
Hossain said Abedin was held captive at her parents' home in Dhaka, but when lawyers and police wanted to talk to her, she was at a mental hospital in Dhaka and another outside Dhaka.
Abedin sent an e-mail to a friend saying she needed help, lawyer Anne-Marie Hutchinson, who got involved in the case on Hossain's request, earlier told The Associated Press in London.
Hutchinson intervened and the British High Court, unaware of Abedin's whereabouts, issued an order on Dec. 5 under Britain's new Forced Marriage Act asking Abedin's relatives in London to show her to a woman's organization or the authorities.
The legislation, passed last month, allows British courts to prevent someone from being forced into marriage. Although the law is not enforceable in Bangladesh, authorities here honored the British court order, Hossain said.
Meanwhile, a petition by a local human rights group in Dhaka prompted the Bangladesh High Court earlier this month to order her parents to produce her on Dec. 14 to ascertain her condition, Hossain said.
In a telephone interview at the time, Abedin's father, Mohammad Joynal Abedin, said she was being treated for mental illness and denied allegations she was held captive to force her into an arranged marriage.
Abedin has insisted that no charges be filed against her parents, Hossain said.
Abedin trained as a doctor both in Bangladesh and at Leeds University in northern England and plans to become a family physician in London, Hossain said.
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