Belfast Telegraph

Couple arrested at 'sham wedding'

A suspected sham marriage has been stopped and the couple arrested as they prepared to take their vows at Armagh registry office

Police swooped to interrupt the wedding ceremony between a Pakistani man and Latvian woman in Armagh. The pair were charged with attempting to evade UK immigration laws.

A sham marriage typically happens when a non-European marries somebody someone from an EU member state to gain long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits in the UK.

Pakistani Muhammad Naeem Aslam, 22, appeared before Armagh Magistrates' Court charged with trying to stay in the UK by deception.

His Latvian bride, Jolantea Juska, 21, and her sister, Jana Juska, aged 26 and who acted as a witness, were charged with assisting unlawful immigration. They were remanded in custody to reappear at a later date.

Their detention on Monday followed a UK Border Agency investigation into the organisation of sham marriages.

Earl Aiken, senior criminal investigator for the UK Border Agency, said: "The UK Border Agency is determined to identify marriages that may not be genuine, and where we suspect that may be the case we will investigate.

"We have specialist teams of immigration officers and police working together to investigate cases just like this and ensuring people are not able to benefit from breaking the UK's immigration laws."

Last month a wedding between a Chinese woman and Northern Ireland man was stopped in error in Co Tyrone. Police have apologised for the mistake.

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