A wedding with the 23-year old woman's cousin was arranged during last year's family trip to Afghanistan to visit relatives. According to the woman's family, she agreed to marry entirely voluntarily. As her would-be husband applied for a residence permit, however, she complained to Sweden's Migration Board, claiming to be stuck in a forced marriage.
As she revealed to her family she already had a boyfriend, her father allegedly threatened to "cut her up into pieces" for disgracing the family, the Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan reported. Subsequently, her lover received a harsh beating and was seriously abused by her father and other male family members.
Besides, the bride must be a virgin before marriage to ensure that no "illegitimate" children inherit property. A family's "honor" is therefore largely based on the notion of the woman's "purity." Suspicions of promiscuity may cast a shadow on the whole family and may result in violence. This concept of honor still plays a morbid role for many Afghans who have become Swedish citizens. By the Afghan diaspora's own admissions, suspicions may be raised by photos on social media and other things that can lead to gossip among relatives.
The Swedish law on forced marriages, which may punish the perpetrator with up to four years in prison, has only existed in the penal code for two years and has never been enforced before. Despite a large number of suspected cases, no charges have been filed until now, the simple reason being that they may end up with daughters testifying against their own families.
"With the current flow of refugees to Sweden, my assessment is that we can see an increase in such crimes, as they persist throughout our whole society and even in our refugee camps," Fritz told Svenska Dagbladet.
Whereas Sweden is yet to debut a guilty verdict for forced marriage, Germany has had a law against forced marriage since 2011, after a review of cases from 2008 showed that 3,400 women and girls across the country sought help against forced marriage. Eight out of ten proved to hail from Muslim families. Nearly all came from migrant families, with only a small portion of the women born in Germany.
Other countries in Europe (and even the United States) also passed laws against this type of crime in recent years, which alas proved have nearly impossible to apply.