Monday, January 30, 2012

"Honor Killings" / Canada

Canadian Jury Finds Afghan Family Guilty of "Honour Killings"
Associated Press dispatch in The Guardian, January 30, 2012
"A jury in Canada has found three members of an Afghan family guilty of drowning three teenage sisters and another woman in what the judge described as 'cold-blooded, shameful murders' resulting from a 'twisted concept of honour'. The verdicts concludes a case that shocked Canadians. Prosecutors said the defendants killed the three teenage sisters because they felt they had dishonoured the family by defying its strict rules on dress, dating, socialising and using the internet. The jury took 15 hours to convict Muhammad Shafia, 58; his wife Tooba Yahya, 42; and their son Hamed, 21. They were each found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder, which carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. After the verdict was read the three defendants again declared their innocence in the killings of sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar 17, and Geeti, 13, as well as Rona Amir Muhammad, 52, Shafia's first wife in a polygamous marriage. Their bodies were found 30 June 2009 in a car submerged in a canal in Kingston, Ontario, where the family had stopped for the night on their way home to Montreal from Niagara Falls, Ontario. The prosecution alleged it was a case of premeditated murder, staged to look like an accident after it was carried out. Prosecutors said the defendants drowned their victims elsewhere on the site, placed their bodies in the car and pushed it into the canal. The Ontario superior court judge Robert Maranger said the evidence clearly supported the conviction. 'It is difficult to conceive of a more heinous, more despicable, more honourless crime,' Maranger said.