The British wife of a wealthy Muslim ‘Lord’ who fathered two children with another woman has won a bitter divorce battle after he refused to divorce her – because they lived under Sharia Law.
Tycoon Houshang Jafari, 62, refused to divorce wife Aghdas Bidaki, 53, despite taking up a ‘temporary wife’ 20 years her junior.
Jafari, who moved to the UK with his family 22 years ago, claimed he was entitled to four permanent wives under Sharia law – and could also take many ‘temporary’ wives.
He moved mistress Katrina, 34, into his luxurious #1.2 million flat in Bristol, while Ms Bidaki remained in the family home in the city.
Mother-of-three Ms Bidaki stood by years of infidelity but demanded a divorce when she discovered that her husband had fathered two children.
She launched an 18-month legal battle to end their marriage when Jafari refused to divorce her – claiming his actions were acceptable under Sharia law.
But a British judge granted the divorce at Bristol County Court, stating this his behaviour was “unreasonable”.
Recorder Jacklin, who will produce a full written judgement about the case next week, told the court: “I am quite sure that this is unreasonable behaviour and the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
“I am quite satisfied of this. I will pronounce a decree nisi now. The six weeks starts today.”
Millionaire property developer Jafari and Ms Bidaki still remain married under the Sharia laws of Iran, as British court orders are not recognised.
She has instructed lawyers there to apply to the courts to end the marriage.
Mr Jafari told the court that he was allowed to have four permanent marriages and as many ‘temporary’ marriages as he can afford, with the consent of his first wife, under the Iranian Civil Code.
He claimed Ms Bidaki had agreed that he could take multiple wives before their marriage, which she strenuously denied.
Sharia Law is part of the Iranian Civil Code but can be over ridden if rules of the code are broken.
Marriage in the country is covered by the Family Protection Act of 1975, which states that a husband must get permission from his first wife before taking any more.
Jafari, represented in court by Katrina, said Ms Bidaki had not complained until July 2011, despite knowing that he was in a relationship more than four years ago.
Katrina, mother to Jafari’s two young sons, told the court: “Ms Bidaki married a man who was polygamous, that’s the end of it.
“The whole of Islam is based on the principle of polygamy, whereas the Bible is based on the principle of monogamy.
“The Iranian marriage is different in its constitution from the British marriage. It is not based on love.”
Jafari and Ms Bidaki married in Iran in 1978 and the couple moved to the UK 22 years ago with their children Yaser, 33, Sajad, 26 and Yasaman, 28.
He moved out of the family home in Downleaze, Bristol and into his luxury apartment with Katrina, who uses the title ‘Lady Jafari’, in 2010. The couple now plan to marry.
Jafari claimed Ms Bidaki had only filed for divorce after hearing that he had son with Katrina – meaning his wealth would be ‘diluted’ between the two sets of children.
Speaking after the judgement was handed down on Friday (30/11) Ms Bidaki disputed his claims and said she would fight her former husband for anything she was entitled to in his property empire.
She said: “It is the beginning of the end. He claimed he didn’t love me from the start, which is rubbish.
“Many women see their husband having an affair and they didn’t but I stayed until I realised he had two children. Then he disgusted me.
“I stood by him while his money was piling up. I wasn’t expecting him to do it to me.”
Son Yaser added: “It has always been the case that my mum wanted to have a divorce after 32 years of marriage.
“She wants to get on with her life. She sees herself as a UK resident and is instructing a lawyer in Iran to divorce him there.”