A man in the UK has been found guilty of murdering his 20-year-old niece, Somaiya Begum, for refusing a forced marriage. Mohammed Taroos Khan was convicted by Bradford Crown Court after dumping Begum’s body in wasteland in Bradford. Begum was the subject of a Forced Marriage Protection Order at the time of her death, which had been issued after her father tried to force her to marry a cousin in Pakistan by threatening her with violence when she was only 16 years old.
Begum was a student at Leeds Beckett University and had been living with another uncle after her parents were served with the order. Khan killed Begum in July 2022, and her body was discovered wrapped in a rug 11 days after she went missing.
Khan denied murdering his niece but admitted perverting the course of justice by disposing of her body and attempting to destroy her phone. CCTV footage shown during the trial captured Khan pulling Begum’s body from his car and placing it on waste ground. A 10-centimeter metal spike embedded in Begum’s back and penetrating her lung was discovered during a post-mortem examination.
The Home Office forensic pathologist was unable to determine the cause of Begum’s death due to decomposition. Nevertheless, Khan was found guilty of murder, and his sentencing is set to take place on Wednesday.
Forced marriages remain a significant issue in the UK and around the world, with women and girls typically being the victims of these human rights abuses. The UK government has introduced legislation to combat forced marriage and other forms of family violence. Nevertheless, cases like Begum’s remind us that much work remains to be done to protect vulnerable individuals from these heinous crimes.
This case highlights the serious nature of forced marriage and the devastating consequences that can result from family violence. It is essential to continue raising awareness about these issues and to support victims of forced marriage and other forms of family violence.