Police hail bravery of Leicester woman as parents are sentenced to kidnapping
A LEICESTER woman who helped police convict members of her family after they kidnapped her said it was a “heart wrenching but right” decision.
The 22-year-old, who does not want to be named, was hailed for her bravery in helping police convict her mother, father, sister, two uncles and two family friends, after they kidnapped her over her relationship with another man.
The group drove the victim from her home in Leicester to Bolton last July.
She only managed to escape after her family found out police in Leicester were investigating a missing persons report filled out by her boyfriend a day earlier.
Speaking after five family members and two family friends were sentenced for their part in her kidnap, she said: “This has been an extremely difficult time for me, I am glad that justice has been done and that the people who committed this crime have been convicted.
“Reporting what was happening to me by my own family was traumatic and heart wrenching but I knew I was doing the right thing. I never expected those who raised me and guided me through my early years would take away my freedom to live my life the way I wanted to.
“No one should have to live according to others and I can now look to the future with my partner. I would encourage anyone experiencing what I did to speak to the police.”
Fifteen members of the victim’s family and friends were initially arrested and charged for their part in the incident.
The Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence against eight of the fifteen who were originally charged in connection with the offence.
But seven people were convicted for their part in the kidnap.
They were the victims mother, Zarina Adam, 48, and father, Ismail Adam, 53, of St Saviours Road, Leicester, who were both sentenced to six months in prison suspended for two years and six month supervision orders. Zarina was also ordered to do 160 hours unpaid work, Ismail 180 hours unpaid work.
Also sentenced was the victims sister, Anisha Khankara, 30, of Milton Avenue, London. She was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for two years and a four-month curfew between 7pm and 6am.
Two of the victims uncle’s were also convicted. Arif Mohamed, 37, of Ruby St, Bolton, was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to do 180 hours unpaid work. Farouk Hafezi Mohamed Adam, 37, of Evington Valley Rd, Leicester, will be sentenced later this month.
Two family friends, Asma Kolia, 44, of Constance Road, Leicester, was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work, and Arif Voraji, 31, of Wicklow Drive, Leicester was sentenced to 6 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to do 120 hours unpaid work.
The group have been banned from making contact with the victim indefinitely, or until she chooses to contact them, after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to conspiracy to put a person in fear of violence.
The investigation into the kidnap began on July 11 2009 when the victim’s partner came to the police to report her missing. She had left her family home a year earlier to live with her partner and her family did not approve.
On July 11, while walking on Kingfisher Avenue in Leicester, she was grabbed by friends and family members and taken to an address on St Saviours Road. She had her mobile phones taken from her and was then driven to Bolton against her will.
She was held overnight and then taken to another address in Bolton the following day but when her family found out that police were investigating her disappearance she was driven back to Leicester.
She was told to go to police and give a false statement to say that she had chosen go to Bolton and that she was not being forced to do anything against her will.
In the days that followed, supported by a police domestic violence officer, detectives encouraged her to reveal the truth about her ordeal.
On October 14 seven members of her immediate family plus close friends were arrested from three addresses in Leicester and one in London.
Three more people were arrested on November 3 and on November 24 a further five people were arrested from addresses in Bolton and Preston.
In the weeks that followed a one more person was arrested in Leicester.
Speaking after the case Detective Chief Inspector Andy Lee, who led the investigation said the victim had “left a legacy” for others in the same situation to seek help.
“The bravery this woman has shown, in supporting this prosecution against her own family and friends, has been very humbling to witness,” he said.
“She has done more than secure justice for herself, she has left a legacy that will help give other victims of the same kind of crime find the strength to come forward and report these crimes to the police.
“Who knows how many men and women – currently frightened into silence in the name of family honour – will be so affected by this result that they too make a decision to break the cycle in the knowledge that the police and the courts will take their concerns seriously.
“These crimes are often referred in the media as ‘honour crimes’ but ‘honour’ is a word that suggests there is a value in the actions taken by the offenders. Regardless of the background there was no ‘honour’ to what this woman went through.
“I know that it has been a long and difficult process for her. Nothing is harder than giving evidence against your own family. I hope that she, her partner and their family can now move forward with their lives.”