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Leading cricket club denies link with cricketer who beat his wife with bat

LONDON: Leicestershire cricket club have denied ever making a contract offer to an abusive husband who admitted hitting his then wife with a cricket bat, the English county side said Monday.

Mustafa Bashir walked away from court Monday after his lawyers said a prison sentence could ruin his prospects with the Midlands county, according to British media reports.

Bashir, 34, also forced bleach and pills into then wife Fakhara Karim’s mouth, Manchester Crown Court heard.

But rather than imprison Bashir, Judge Richard Mansell gave him an 18-month suspended sentence.

The judge said Karim was not vulnerable as she was “an intelligent woman with a network of friends” and a university degree, the BBC reported.

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Bashir’s lawyer told the court that if his client, who admitted two counts of actual bodily harm, was sent to jail he would miss out on a contract with Leicestershire.

But later Monday, Leicestershire were adamant they had not had any contact with Bashir, who plays league cricket in Oldham, near Manchester, in northern England.

“The club have never spoken to Mustafa Bashir or an agent, nor offered a contract to the player,” said a statement on the county’s website.

The court was told how Bashir and Karim married in 2013 but that their relationship lasted less than two years.

It also heard how Bashir at one point struck Karim with his cricket bat, saying: “If I hit you with this bat with my full power then you would be dead.”

– ‘Shocking ignorance’ –

Passing a sentence of an 18-month jail term suspended for two years, Judge Mansell also ordered Bashir to attend a behavioural workshop, pay £1,000 ($1,255, 1,155 euros) costs and banned him from contacting Karim.

“I am not convinced she was a vulnerable person,” said the judge in remarks reported by the BBC and other British media.

“Sometimes women who moved here 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 here. She is plainly an intelligent woman with a network of friends and did go on to graduate university with a 2:1 and a masters — although this has had an ongoing effect on her.”

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However, the judge added: “This court will not tolerate violence in a relationship of this nature. It is a very fine line between imprisonment and a suspended sentence.”

Sandra Horley, chief executive of domestic abuse charity Refuge, criticised the judge’s reported remarks by telling the BBC: “(The judge’s) comments — that he was not convinced of the victim’s ‘vulnerability’ — show a shocking ignorance around the impact of domestic violence on women.

“What a woman does for a job, her level of education or the number of friends she has makes no difference; for any woman, domestic violence is a devastating crime that has severe and long-lasting impacts.”

Opposition lawmaker Jess Phillips said she planned to raise the case with the British government by contacting both the attorney-general, its senior lawyer, and the justice secretary, who has overall responsibility for the judicial system.

“The words of the judge, if they have been reported accurately, are frankly astonishing,” Phillips, a Labour MP, told the Guardian.

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