FOUR family members have been jailed for their ‘inhuman’ treatment of a relative who was subjected to a three-year campaign of cruelty and violence.

Nek Alam, 72, and sons Zahir, 33, Zahoor, 32, and Janghir, 29, repeatedly abused Ghalib Hussain, 27, a court heard.

The ordeal for Mr Hussain, an epileptic with learning difficulties, began after he came to Accrington from Pakistan in 2006 as a result of an arranged marriage to Nek Alam's daughter, Sofia.

She had rejected him and he was said to have been left ‘stranded and alone’ in the Alam household.

Burnley Crown Court was told that ‘child-like’ Mr Hussain was nicknamed ‘The Clown’ by his family and was subjected to cruelty by his relatives who regarded him as a financial burden.

A jury heard that Mr Hussain was said to have been beaten as ‘punishment’, had a jump lead clamped on his nose and was hit with the other end, was headbutted, kicked, punched and hit with a bat, a stick and a belt.

Nek Alam was said to have locked the victim in a room overnight and kicked and struck him.

On other occasions Mr Hussain was warned he would be buried alive in a cemetery and have his tongue ripped out.

The jury was told he also had to kiss the feet of his uncle and was not allowed to eat until he was told to.

Finally he was rescued after police found him.

He was wearing traditional Asian dress walking the streets.

A passer-by helped translate and he was asked if the officers could take him home.

But he became visibly distressed and was seen to cling to a lamp-post.

Nek Alam, Zahir Alam and Zahoor Alam, all of Richmond Hill Street, Accrington, were jailed for 15 months yesterday and Zahir Alam, of Willows Lane, Accrington, was sentenced to 10 months behind bars.

They admitted putting Mr Hussain, in fear of violence by harassment, between January 2007 and July 2010.

DS Julie Cross said: “The victim was subjected to years of harassment and emotional abuse and has been treated in the most dreadful manner.

"To treat a family member in this way is appalling and inhumane. I am satisfied with the sentences.

“I would like to reassure people that these despicable crimes will absolutely not be tolerated and all reports are investigated thoroughly and we will do all we can to bring the people responsible to justice.”

Mr Hussain, who could not read or write and did not speak English, had been unable to work because of his problems.

Prosecutor Jeremy Lasker had told the jury that certain members of the victim's family had described him as ‘slow in the head’. He said: “It's pretty clear that he was not regarded with much affection by his relatives.”

The court heard that Mr Hussain was no longer living with the Alams and was in the care of local authorities outside of the town.

Stuart Mills, for Zahir Alam, said Mr Hussain's behaviour could be very challenging and the family couldn't get the help they needed to cope.

He said ‘inappropriate excessive chastisement’ was used, in the manner that someone might deal with a naughty child.

Sentencing, Judge Jonathan Gibson said: “I am satisfied that this is a case where your frustrated reactions to Mr Hussain's poor behaviour, as you saw it, overflowed.

“And the poor behaviour was clearly, it seems to me, as a result of Ghalib Hussain's disability.”