What would a cricketer use to beat his wife? The answer is as obvious as it is devastating. Mustafa Bashir, 34, who plays for a local cricket league in Oldham, Greater Manchester, used his bat as part of vicious attacks against his wife, 33-year-old Fakhara Karim, in which he also poured bleach down her throat, grabbed her neck to the point she thought she would die, tried to break her fingers and slapped her so hard she fell unconscious. He threatened to kill himself before telling her that he wanted her to kill herself and suggesting that the full force of his bat could do exactly that.
Yet, despite his actions, Manchester Crown Court today has ruled that Bashir will not face jail because the judge has deemed the victim not to be “a vulnerable person”. Passing an 18-month jail term suspended for two years, the judge has ordered Bashir to attend a “building better relationships" workshop, pay £1,000 in costs and banned him from contacting his wife. The Daily Mail reports that Bashir’s lawyer said a jail sentence would prohibit Bashir’s upcoming promotion to a county league team, Leicestershire County.
What could be construed as attempted murder has been reduced to behavioural problems because the female victim was too “intelligent”
While the judge acknowledges that Bashir was abusive, controlling and without remorse, he said he was not convinced Karim was “a vulnerable person". He said, “Sometimes women who move from their country become trapped in a relationship where they lose their support network of family and friends and cannot speak the language. This is not the case. She is plainly an intelligent woman with a network of friends and did go on to graduate university with a 2:1 and a master's.”
While Bashir reportedly still has an offer of employment from Leicestershire County* and a new partner, who was in court, claiming she has had no experience of violence, Karim has a bleaker outlook. She told the court, "It will take a long time to get back to how I was before… I can't see how I could trust another man again after what happened to me. I dreamed of being in a happy relationship and I do not feel now that that will ever happen with someone else.”
What could be construed as attempted murder has been reduced to behavioural problems because the female victim was too “intelligent”. The judge’s ruling not only reflects how insignificant extreme male violence against women is perceived by our legal system, but how women are still seen as part of the problem – as somehow responsible.
The judge’s sentencing of Bashir, which will only support his campaign to keep playing cricket, lays the events at the feet of the victim and, far more simply put, equates to: “Why did she stay?”
*Amendment: Leicestershire County Cricket Club have released the following statement: "Any references to Mustafa Bashir signing or being approached to sign for Leicestershire County Cricket Club are completely false. The club have never spoken to Mustafa Bashir or an agent, nor offered a contract to the player. The club are also working with groups to campaign against domestic violence, and are holding a match on September 17 to help raise awareness of the issue.