Saturday, August 04, 2012

Dad and mum who killed their daughter jailed in UK

Parents from hell. Iftikhar Ahmed, 52, and his wife Farzana, 49,
The Pakistani father and mother who suffocated their daughter for embracing western culture and refusing to marry an arranged older man have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Independent, UK, reports Iftikhar Ahmed, 52, and his wife Farzana, 49, were jailed for life for the murder of their daughter, Shafilea, 17 in September, 2003.

A court had heard Shafilea was beaten and suffocated by having a plastic bag thrust into her mouth after she defied her Pakistani Muslim parents by rejecting an arranged marriage, wearing western clothes and chatting to boys.

 After the pair were caged for a minimum of 25 years, Superintendent Geraint Jones, senior police officer in the investigation, scorned the concept of honour killing.

 The abuse Shafilea suffered was motivated by her parents’ desire to control her, to make her conform to their interpretation of Pakistani culture.

For almost nine years the Ahmeds, of Warrington, Cheshire, believed they had got away with the killing. But their plot unravelled when another daughter, Alesha, told cops she witnessed the horrific attack on Shafilea.

In her harrowing evidence, Alesha, who was 14 at the time, said her mum and dad pinned her sister on a settee at their home in September 2003 and stuffed a plastic bag in her mouth.

 She said her mother declared: “Just finish it here.”

Alesha, now 23, told a hushed Chester Crown Court the attack followed a row about Shafilea going out without a jacket. Her brother Junyad had searched Shafilea’s bag for boys’ phone numbers.

She went on: “They both started hitting her. One said, ‘Grab a bag’, which my Mum did. It was a plastic bag. They put it in her mouth and put their hands over her, both of them. He held her down with his leg on her stomach. She was kicking her legs.

 “You could tell she was gasping for air. She wet herself because she was struggling so much. That was it. She was gone.”

 Shafilea was listed as missing and her body was found in a river six months later.

 The killing followed a series of clashes with the strict parents, the jury heard. Months before her death, Shafilea drank bleach on a trip to Pakistan because she feared she was going to be married off.

The teenager, who wanted to be a lawyer, ran away from home several times. And eight months before her death she sought emergency accommodation, saying her parents were increasingly violent.

She said one would “hold me down while the other hit me”.

As Mevish gave evidence, the judge warned her taxi driver dad to stop trying to communicate with her from the dock by nodding his head.

After the letters written by another daughter, Mevish disclosing what she saw during the murder emerged, Farzana Ahmed dramatically changed her story, claiming she saw her husband attack Shafilea and she hid upstairs. She said when she asked where the girl was, she was told, “If you care for your life and your children’s life, do not ask me that question again.”

But the jury decided she too had killed Shafilea and played a part in the removal of her body.

Iftikhar Ahmed stood impassively as the verdicts were given, while his wife wiped away tears.

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