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Friday, 25 October, 2002, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Bangladeshi pop singer arrested
James (Faruq Mahfuz Anam) and bride, Benazir
James and bride (Image: Ittefaq newspaper)
One of Bangladesh's most popular singers, Faruk Mahfuz Anam, better known as James, has been arrested.

It follows a complaint from the parents of his bride that she was under-aged, according to the police.

James and his second wife, Benazir Sazzad, were detained on Wednesday at Dhaka airport after returning from the US.

Singing group
Traditional music in Bangladesh inspires James' work
Ms Sazzad's family said she was under 18, the minimum age of marriage in Bangladesh, and alleged the singer abducted her on 28 June to marry her in the United States.

James has been sent to prison to await a bail hearing, while Ms Sazzad has been sent to a government shelter.

A judge has ordered a hearing for Saturday.

However, media reports say the girl contends she was of not underage at the time of the wedding last month in New York.

She has refused a judge's order to return to her parents and instead has been placed in custody.

Exceptions

In New York, the age of consent for marriage is also 18, although exceptions are sometimes made if the couple's parents approve.

James' age is uncertain but an official of a Dhaka association representing local bands said the singer was around 40 years old.

He shot to fame in the mid-1990s with his distinctive style, blending western instruments with lyrics and tunes that were based on Bengali culture.

James, who heads the Nagar Baul band, has two children from his first marriage.

But the relationship was reportedly a turbulent one.

Last month, James ended months of rumour by saying he would divorce his first wife, Rothi, to marry his new sweetheart.

He and Ms Sazzad reportedly met in New York during a concert more than two years ago.

She has been quoted by newspapers as saying: "I love him and am marrying him knowing all about his life."

See also:

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