Belfast Telegraph

Police arrested wedding couple before vows

By Patrice Dougan

A bride and groom were arrested just moments before they made their wedding vows by police investigating sham marriages.

The pair - a Latvian woman and a Pakistani man - were interrupted during their wedding service at Armagh Register Office on Monday by officers and UK Border Agency officials.

The couple were charged with attempting to evade immigration laws after they were taken to Banbridge police station.

Yesterday, Pakistani national Muhammad Naeem Aslam (22) appeared before Armagh Magistrates Court charged with seeking to obtain leave to remain in the UK by deception.

His 'bride', Jolantea Juska (21), from Latvia, along with her sister Jana Juska (26), who acted as witness to the marriage, also appeared in court.

Both were charged with assisting unlawful immigration.

All three were remanded in custody to reappear at a later date.

Meanwhile, officers also arrested a second Pakistani man during a separate operation on Monday.

Officers swooped on Belfast City Hall, where the marriage ceremony was taking place, and questioned the 'groom'.

The 21-year-old was later arrested for overstaying the conditions of his visa.

A series of such arrests and court appearances have taken place across Northern Ireland in recent weeks as police and border officials attempt to stamp out 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."

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