Mustafa Bashir got a suspended sentence (picture courtesy of Leicester Mercury)>
A 34-year-old Pakistani cricketer in the UK who brutally beat his wife with a bat and made her drink bleach has been spared jail time as the judge noted that the victim was not “vulnerable”, triggering widespread protests in the country.
Mustafa Bashir’s legal team had claimed that prison would ruin his career as a cricketer, leading to a suspended sentence by a Manchester judge. The court heard that Bashir berated her for wearing western clothing
Manchester-based Bashir had admitted two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm after the court was told he beat his wife Fakhara Karim with a cricket bat, throttled her in public and also forced her to drink bleach.
Judge Richard Mansell sentenced Bashir to 18 months prison, suspended for two years, and ordered him to attend a workshop entitled building better relationships, pay £1,000 costs and banned him from contacting Karim.
In his sentencing remarks, the judge noted that he did not believe the 33-year-old Karim was vulnerable as she was “an intelligent woman with a network of friends” and a college degree.
A suspended sentence in the UK relates to a sentence where the accused can escape jail time by serving a period of probation.
The sentencing and the judges remarks have provoked widespread outrage among campaigners, including Labour MP Jess Phillips, who said she would raise the case with the attorney general and justice secretary.
“The words of the judge, if they have been reported accurately, are frankly astonishing,” she said.
While the offence is not one where the sentence can be referred to the Court of Appeal as “unduly lenient”, the judge has 56 days to recall it if doubt is cast on the grounds for the sentence.
“They [Police] may want to consider whether any other charge needs to be brought if the defendant has deliberately advanced something that is not true to reduce the sentence and/or keep him out of prison,” said Anna Soubry MP, who is also protesting against the lenient sentence.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was reviewing the case of the Pakistani national who has claimed that he had been offered a contract by the Leicestershire County Cricket Club.
The cricket club has since denied ever being in contact with Bashir.
“The club have never spoken to Mustafa Bashir or an agent, nor offered a contract to the player,” a spokesperson for the club said.
“We are aware of recent developments relating to this case and are currently considering our options,” the CPS said in a statement today.
Bashir met the victim in Pakistan and married her in 2013.