Outrage as UK judge frees Pakistani convicted of assaulting wife

A British court freed a Pakistani cricketer, who played in the local cricket league in the Greater Manchester area, even though he was convicted of assaulting his wife, The Guardian reported on Monday.

Manchester Crown Court last week spared prison sentence for Mustafa Bashir, 34, who confessed to assaulting hi 33-year-old wife Fakhara Karim.

Bashir admitted to “occasionally inflicting bodily harm on his wife”, including forcing Karim to drink bleach, throttling her in public, and striking her with his cricket bat.

Judge Richard Mansell QC, deciding on the case, ordered Bashir to attend a workshop entitle “building better relationships” and pay a cost of 1,000 pounds, and banned him from contacting Karim.

However, there was more to what provoked outrage from activists working on domestic violence issues.

Mansell in his sentencing remarks reportedly said that he was “not convinced [Karim] was a vulnerable person” as she was educated with a college degree and was “an intelligent woman with a network of friends”.

On the other hand, he said that he was not convinced of the defendant’s remorse and took Bashir’s employment prospects into account before sentencing.

“This court will not tolerate violence in a relationship of this nature. It is a very fine line between imprisonment and a suspended sentence,” the judge said.

A Labour Party MP, Jess Phillips, said that she would take the issue to the attorney general and justice secretary, adding, “The words of the judge, if they have been reported accurately, are frankly astonishing.”

“The idea that a woman’s educational status or her friendships are being used to judge her vulnerability completely fails to understand the nature of domestic abuse,” she added.

“Domestic abuse can happen to anyone,” said Phillips. “It does not follow class, race, age or any social lines,” she said, adding the sentence send a wrong message to those stuck with abusive partners that their perpetrators would be met with leniency.

According to some reports circulating in the British media, Bashir’s lawyer had “misled” the judge that his client would join Leicestershire County Cricket Club if he was spared jail time.

However, an official of the cricket club rubbished the claims, saying it was “bemused” by the information, adding that it was “completely false”. He added: “The club have never spoken to Mustafa Bashir or an agent, nor offered a contract to the player.”

Bashir met Karim in their native Pakistan and the two got married in 2013. The court was told that Bashir allegedly berated Karim for wearing western clothing, called her a “slag” when she went out with her female friends and repeatedly beat her ─ once with a bat.

Karim eventually went to the police and said: “I did fear for my life; he told me he was going to kill me.”

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