Parents get life for ‘honour killing’

By SAPA Time of article published Aug 3, 2012

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London - The parents of a teenage girl from a Pakistani family in Britain, who was killed for her 'westernized' views and lifestyle, were sentenced Friday to life for her murder in 2003.

Iftikhar Ahmed, 52, and his wife Farzana, 49, were told they would both have to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison after a jury at Chester Crown Court convicted them of the murder of their 17-year-old daughter Shafilea, nine years ago.

The teenager, from Warrington, Cheshire in north-west England, went missing in September 2003. Her decomposed body was found on the banks of a river in the northern county of Cumbria six months later.

The court heard that the couple suffocated Shafilea with a plastic bag at their home in an apparent so-called honour killing. They believed their daughter had brought shame on the family, because of her westernized views, clothing and lifestyle.

“Your concern about being shamed in your community was greater than the love of your child,” judge Roderick Evans told them.

“You chose to bring up your family in Warrington but although you lived in Warrington your social and cultural attitudes were those of rural Pakistan and it was those which you imposed upon your children,” he said.

“Although she went to local schools, you objected to her socializing with girls from what has been referred to as the white community.”

“She was being squeezed between two cultures, the culture and way of life that she saw around her and wanted to embrace, and the culture and way of life you wanted to impose on her,” he continued.

“She tried to escape and she was determined to do so because she knew what lay in store for her at your hands - being taken to Pakistan to be 'sorted out', i.e. having her westernized ideas removed - and to be married off,” said the judge.

During the trial, the father denied claims that he had attacked his daughter, claiming she had run away from home. But the mother, who initially denied claims that her husband had attacked Shafilea, changed her account during the trial, saying she saw him attack her on the night of the murder.

The breakthrough in the case came with the arrest of Shafilea's younger sister, Alesha Ahmed, in 2010, in connection with an armed robbery at the family home.

During police interviews, she said she had seen her parents kill her sister, by suffocating her in front of their other four children. - Sapa-dpa

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