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In first, Britain jails businessman for refusing to grant his wife a Jewish divorce

‘You sought to manipulate and control her all in the knowledge that it would substantially impact her mental health,’ judge tells Alan Moher, who will serve 18 months in prison

Illustrative: A Jewish couple getting married. (Justin Oberman/Creative Commons)
Illustrative: A Jewish couple getting married. (Justin Oberman/Creative Commons)

An English court on Friday sentenced a Jewish businessman to 18 months in prison for refusing to grant his wife a religious divorce.

Alan Moher, 57, and his wife Caroline separated in 2016 after 20 years of marriage. The couple, who have three children, were granted a civil divorce in 2019.

However, the Manchester property firm owner refused to grant his wife a get, which Jewish law mandates must be given freely without coercion and prevents her from remarrying until he does.

In response, his wife brought what her lawyers have called a “landmark case” against Moher, who this week pleaded guilty at the Southwark Crown Court to controlling or coercive behavior over a five-year period beginning in 2016.

It was the first time someone who refused to grant a get has been convicted of such a charge in an English court, according to the Jewish Chronicle.

“You sought to manipulate and control her all in the knowledge that it would substantially impact her mental health and in some respects also impact her physical health,” Judge Martin Beddoe told Moher, according to the BBC.

Among the accusations against Moher were that he used “psychological and emotional abuse” and threatened his wife,” who hailed the ruling.

“To those who have emotionally coerced and controlled, physically hurt, and dehumanized their spouses — the law will not allow you to get away with your crimes,” she said.

“To those victims out there, you are not alone, and justice and humanity are on your side,” she added. “I urge you not to stay silent, but to fight for your freedom.”

In a previous court ruling, Moher was ordered to pay his wife alimony until he grants her a get.

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