Monday, January 30, 2012

Shafia Convictions Put Focus on Culture of Honor Killings

At Wall Street Journal, "Afghan Immigrants in Canada Found Guilty of Honor Killing":

TORONTO—A Canadian court found two Afghan immigrant parents and their eldest son guilty of murdering four female family members in a so-called honor killing Sunday, the climax of a case that's transfixed Canada and sparked a wider debate about clashing cultures amid the country's large immigrant population.

Mohammad Shafia, his wife, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, and eldest son, Hamed, were found guilty of killing Mr. Shafia's three teenage daughters and Mr. Shafia's first wife in an elaborately staged, though ultimately bungled, car accident in June 2009. The defense argued the four died after a late-night joy ride went awry.

The four-month trial opened a relatively rare window onto honor killings in North America. The crime, where victims are murdered for bringing shame on their family, is increasingly common in western European countries like Britain and Sweden, which has seen large-scale immigration from countries where researchers say the custom happens most—such as Pakistan, India and Turkey ....

The prosecution argued it was honor rooted in Afghan tribal traditions that led Mr. Shafia to cleanse the shame he felt from the conduct of his rebellious daughters, Zainab, 19 years old, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13. The eldest two took unapproved boyfriends, and all three disobeyed their father through their independent behavior and sometimes-revealing dress. Rona Amir Mohammad, who was Mr. Shafia's first spouse in the polygamous family, was killed, the prosecution argued, because she was a troublesome first wife and lenient step mother.

The trial filled the Canadian press with the macabre details of a murder in which police believe the victims were drowned and then placed into a car that was then pushed into a lock outside of Kingston, near Toronto. The local press printed police transcripts of a ranting Mr. Shafia calling his daughters "whores" and boasting, "nothing is more dear to me than my honor."
Video c/o Blazing Cat Fur.

And my previous roundup is here: "Shafia Family Guilty of Honor Killings in Canada: Updates."