A former Labour Councillor and Respect party candidate advised there is 'nothing wrong' with fathers arranging marriages for some 15-year-olds as it emerged that husbands who rape and abuse their wives are let into the UK.
Asama Javed is an immigration lawyer based in Bradford, West Yorkshire, and was caught advising that girls could be married off if 'mentally or physically ready'.
Footage of her suggestion emerged as a Freedom of Information request showed the Home Office received 175 inquiries about victims trying to block spouses' visas last year.
It is two years since Mrs Javed resigned as a Labour councillor in the city, deflecting in a bid to become a Respect MP in nearby Halifax.
The Times reports that she told one of its journalists he could marry off his 15-year-old daughter as he posed as a father seeking her advice.
'If she is mentally or physically ready and she is 15 or 16 years old, then there is no harm in it,' the 44-year-old told the Pakistani man in front of her. 'My [friend] was married when she was 15 but, by the grace of God, she was intelligent.'
Telling him that her friend's daughters were also at 'the age of marriage' and will now be wed.
As well as working at Reiss Solicitors, Asama Javed sits on Bradford Council's fostering panel and is a school governor.
(And I bet they will let her keep her positions even after articles about her shady activities.)
The paper deployed its undercover reporter in response to a credible force saying that they believed Mrs Javed was helping families obtain visas and arrange forced marriages.
The journalist claimed to have a daughter aged 15 and another who had just turned 18.
Telling Mrs Javed that the older daughter had been married in Pakistan and was pregnant, he claimed that he was hoping to bring her and the husband home to the UK despite telling her that the unhappy daughter did not want to man to come back with her.
She warned him that 'everybody will be in trouble' if UK authorities suspect a forced marriage has taken place before advising him to 'bribe' and 'spoil' his daughter to avoid her making a fuss and risking criminal charges for those involved.
She advised him not to apply for a spousal visa for his son-in-law because that would need his daughter's backing.
Instead Mrs Javed told him to bring his daughter back alone so she could have the baby. Then her husband could apply for entry as the baby's father and come to the UK without the girl knowing or giving him permission.
The exchange was caught on film by the journalist and showed to forced marriage expert barrister Usha Sood.
In Britain, it is illegal to assist or simply to encourage an offence if you believe it will be committed.
Ms Sood said it was a clear case of 'forced marriage-fixing' that reinforced criminal and immigration breaches and deceives the state while entrapping an individual.
Former chief crown prosecutor Nazir Afzal suggested the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) investigate Mrs Javed.
A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police thanked The Times for providing the information and said the force will review it.
Bradford council has shared details of the exchange with the local fostering panel on which Mrs Javed sits as well as the school at which she is a governor.
The SRA advised that every solicitor is required to uphold high professional standards and that it will take action where they fail to do so.
The Home Office dealt with nearly 90 cases of forced marriage victims trying to block visas [that would enable their 'husbands' to immigrate to the UK] last year, although almost half were still issued.
Oh great. Not.
Founder of forced marriage victim support charity Karma Nirvana, Jasvinder Sanghera, told The Times: 'Even when officials know it's a forced marriage, they see tradition, culture or religion and they're reticent to deal with it. They are turning a blind eye.'
Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom, which also supports victims, said 'The girls are physically and sexually abused by the men that come over,' she told the paper.
Laws making it illegal to force someone into marriage in England and Wales were introduced in 2014. Anyone found guilty of doing so can be jailed for up to seven years.
As well as banning the practice, police were given powers to issue Forced Marriage Protection Orders to help protect victims, breaches of which are punishable by up to five years in prison.
In 2013, the year before laws were introduced, the Government's Forced Marriage Unit gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage to more than 1,300 people. In 2017 the unit gave advice or support in 1,196 cases.
Speaking at the time, Theresa May, then Home Secretary, said forced marriage was 'a tragedy for each and every victim'.
(Yes, Theresa, we know how much you care about victims of rape and sexual abuse....) /s
From DM's comment section:
'We all knew this was happening just surprised it's been reported.'
'Shocking attitude for a woman in a western society which she enjoys the luxuries of.'
'And how many more like her are in positions of authority and power?'
Asama Javed's Twitter:
Source: Today's The Daily Mail.