UK police invading migrant couples’ privacy over sham marriage suspicion 0

A new report shows genuine couples in the UK have been subjected to numerous cases of insult and harassment by police and other authorities, who suspect such marriages provide a cover for immigration fraud.

The Guardian newspaper said on Sunday that more and more registered couples across the UK had been subject to “insulting” searches by Home Office officials investigating whether their relationship was real and not one that allows the parties to remain in the country as a migrant.

The newspaper cited shocking cases of ministry officials raiding houses of couples or gatecrashing their wedding ceremonies only because they suspected they were involved in a sham marriage.

The couples are often forced to detail their sexual relationship, something many of them find deeply troublesome and insulting.

In one case, ministry officials had told a couple inside their house that their marriage could be declared sham because they were wearing pajamas in bed.

In another case, four ministry officials raided the home of a Pakistani man, identified only as Qasim, and his Portuguese wife three years ago. They interrogated the couple about their sexual behavior and then arrested the man for four months until authorities were convinced that the relationship was genuine.

“I was in a state of shock and trauma all the time I was in detention. It was very insulting that the Home Office came inside our home to check that everything was joined,” said Qasim.

Lawyers and rights activists have protested against the Home Office practice, saying it is part of the UK government’s hostile policy toward the refugees.

“You may be detained after your marriage ceremony is gatecrashed by Home Office officials. It’s very degrading,” said Poppy Firmin, an employee of a UK law agency.

“Home Office officials may come to your home early in the morning and check up on the number of toothbrushes,” said Elizabeth Ruddick, a solicitor working for major law agency.  

The UK government has repeatedly been accused of violating the rights of refugees as authorities eye a drastic reduction in the number of arrivals in the country. That comes as many migrants from the European Union countries have already left the UK fearing that the country’s withdrawal from the EU could make their lives more difficult.