Girl was murdered for her western ways
Justice Roderick Evans sentenced Iftikhar, 52, and Farzana Ahmed, 49, to life in prison for killing their daughter, Shafilea, in 2003. The couple — first cousins from the Pakistani village of Uttam — were ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison.
In Britain, more than 25 women have been killed in so-called honor killings in the past decade. Families have sometimes lashed out at their children on the belief that they have brought their household shame by becoming too westernized or by refusing a marriage.
During the trial that began in May, jurors heard from Shafilea’s younger sister, Alesha, who said she witnessed the murder when she was 12.
After an argument about Shafilea’s dress, her parents pushed her down on a couch, stuffed a thin white plastic bag into her mouth and held their hands over her mouth and nose until she died, Alesha testified.
As she was struggling, her mother said, “just finish it here,” according to Alesha’s testimony.
Although Shafilea’s other siblings contradicted the testimony, the last-minute emergence of a diary convinced jurors.
The diary belonged to a friend of one of Shafilea’s other sisters, Mev. In it, the friend relays conversations she had with the sister about the night Shafilea died — details that supported Alesha’s testimony.
“The strong message goes out and should be very clear: If you engage in honor killings — if you engage in forced marriages — you will be caught and brought to justice,” said Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Manchester-based Ramadhan Foundation, a Muslim organization.