Kidnapped by her father and brother for a forced marriage in Yemen

While in Mexico, an American woman was abducted by her father and brother who forcibly took her to Yemen to enter into an arranged marriage. On Thursday, American justice charged the father and brother of the victim from New York State. Khaled Abughanem (50) and Waleed Abughanem (32) have been arrested and face life imprisonment for criminal conspiracy to kidnap people in a foreign country.

At the beginning of September 2021, this adult American citizen, whose name is not disclosed in the complaint, traveled to Mexico to marry her fiancé, whom she had been dating for nine years without informing her family. the US Department of Justice said. Once informed, the victim’s family traveled to Mexico and forced her to return – against her will – to the United States, according to court documents.

“Women like you are killed”

Once in the city of Buffalo (State of New York), she was forced to leave the university, no longer had access to the Internet, was prohibited from contacting her fiancé and was locked up at home. “The victim was told that if she did not comply and accept an arranged marriage, she would be locked up in her home and cut off from the outside world forever, and her fiancé (…) would be killed”, a said the Department of Justice.

At the end of September, she takes the plane to go to Egypt and then to Yemen with her family. The victim then tries to flee several times, in vain. According to court documents, in Cairo, the victim indicated that his father told him: “You are no longer in the West, you are in the Middle East, (here) women like you are killed. Once in Yemen, they reached an area under the control of the Houthi rebels where his father told him that he would receive 500,000 dollars after an arranged marriage, which ultimately did not take place.

Most of the family members left Yemen in April 2022 and left the victim with his brothers in an apartment in the Yemeni capital. The indictment does not specify how US authorities learned of the victim’s situation at the end of 2022. But the document refers to a nonprofit organization that advocates for the victim’s cause. and passed on details of his situation.

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