A woman told Palm Beach County deputies she stayed inside her Wellington home for three years, afraid of her husband, who is now in jail facing domestic battery charges.
Qasem Alabed, 42, swatted his pregnant wife — whose family lives in Morocco — with a television remote, and as she scrambled for safety he lashed her across the thigh with a cable, she told deputies Wednesday through an Arabic interpreter, according to his arrest report. This apparently stemmed from an argument in their Wellington home, but the arrest report is redacted and unclear. Authorities would not comment further on the case.
The victim told deputies “that she has not been let out of the house in the past three years that she has been here in the USA,” the arrest report said. It isn’t clear whether she really never once stepped outside.
Alabed, who is from Pakistan, subjected his wife, unnamed in the report, to three years of torment since she arrived in the United States, deputies said. He beat her daily and controlled her communications; he tried to alienate her from her family in Morocco, but sometimes when he fell asleep, she would sneak a hushed international call, according to the report.
The beatings did not stop even after she became pregnant three months ago. She feared for her unborn child and her 3-year-old son, she said.
“Be brave and leave and find the police,” a family friend told her, according to the report. But experts in domestic violence say threats of violence, made credible by actual violence, are the abuser’s upper hand.
Yet after the scuffle with the remote control and the cable, she somehow escaped with her son, welts still on her skin. The deputy recorded her statement at the Wellington City Hall, only a few blocks from the apartment listed as Alabed’s in his booking report.
The deputy took pictures of her leg then drove her and her son to be admitted to a safe location.
Alabed faces felony charges of aggravated domestic battery and battery of a pregnant victim. Since Thursday afternoon, he has been locked in Palm Beach County Jail on $20,000 bond.
It’s also unclear from the report what tactic he used to keep her in the home. Experts say there are several, including threatening to kill her if she left.
“We do see cases where someone may be held for a couple of days, especially if they have been battered,” said Alexcia Cox, an assistant state attorney in Palm Beach County who heads the office’s domestic violence unit.
“I’ve never seen as much as three years, but several days to a week,” she said.
Alabed’s first marriage ended in divorce, records show. His wife had never been married when they wed in a religious ceremony on Dec. 10, 2010. He was 40, and she was 27.
Previously, according to a state beverage license, Alabed sold beer and lottery tickets at Carnival Mini Mart in Lakeland, east of Tampa. He’d been charged once with making copies of CDs and trying to sell them.
When the Palm Beach County deputy arrested him close to midnight on Wednesday, he went quietly.
Will he be deported? Will American taxpayers be saddled with a single mom who only speaks Arabic?