Honor Related Violence (Canada)
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El-Medhi Bellari, stabbed to death, October 24, 2005
This is what two of his coworkers declared about the 36-year-old defendent yesterday, during the trial for the murder of his brother, in front of judge Marc David.
According to their testimony, from Najib Bellari’s point of view, his elder brother was a bad Muslim.
The night of the murder, Najib Bellari, who currently studies administration in his native Morocco, returned to Basha on Sainte-Catherine Street, the restaurant where he works as a dishwasher.
"I want to speak to my brother"
"During the evening, a nice gentleman, the kind you can welcome with pleasure, a smiling, beautiful man, entered the restaurant and said, 'I want to speak to my brother,'" testified the owner of Basha, Youssef Sbeiti.
The man, El-Mehdi, 38 years old, was the elder brother of Najib.
El-Mehdi was brought into the kitchen of the restaurant, where Najib was, by Mohammad Ibnzakour, the chef.
"It’s the brother who started to speak. I couldn’t hear, they spoke too low in a polite manner, then I heard Najib shout Leave! Leave!," testified Mr. Ibnzakour.
Mr. Ibnzakour continued pointing out that the defendant took a kitchen knife, about thirty centimeters, and pointed it towards his brother.
"His brother started to move backwards in the dining room, and tried to calm him. He threw several chairs on the ground to block his way. Then he turned to Youssef to tell him why he came, and Najib then took the opportunity to stab him in the neck," continued Mohammad Ibnzakour.
"His blood squirted on the walls. He left the restaurant and fell on the ground," observed Mr. Sbeiti.
"He was a believer in Satan," Najib said about his elder brother.
He then dropped his knife, placed the chairs and tables back in place, then sat down while waiting for the police.
Mohammad Ibnzakour described the defendant as a scholar of Islam.
"He has a good understanding of Islam. I would regularly ask him questions about Islam. He would answer. He taught me," he remembered.
But Najib was also a conservative practitioner, who qualified those who were not observant as "deviant."Ibnzakour’s testimony caused loud sobbing from the defendant.
David Santerre, Le Journal de Montréal, June 6, 2007
Roohi Tabassum, faces death if deported to Pakistan, 2006
Justice Michael Kelen found that an immigration officer reviewing evidence in the case of Roohi Tabassum, a 44-year-old Mississauga hair stylist who has been fighting to stay in Canada since 2001, made a mistake by characterizing as "not threatening" letters purportedly from Ms. Tabassum's husband in which he promised to "finish" Ms. Tabassum if she returned to Pakistan.
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She also claims her husband and his family have become erroneously convinced that she is living with another man in Canada, after a friend's husband answered the phone at her apartment one night.
"What you are doing there, does it look better to you and does your religion allow you to touch other men? It is better to die hungry," says one 2006 letter translated from Urdu and allegedly written by Mr. Javed.
"Tell me everything true otherwise you know that I can do anything for my honour. Do you know how much I believed in you? Other than this you are also aware that your life is seriously in danger in Pakistan ... Everybody is against you. I am also very combative to you. If you are here, I could not leave you alive."After asking her husband for a divorce, Ms. Tabassum received another letter dated February 2007 in which Mr. Javed alledgedly writes: "My doubts about you are real and right but keep this in mind that now I will finish you myself."
Kenyon Wallace, National Post, November 24, 2009
Khatera sidiqi and Feroz Mangal, shot to death, September 19, 2006
“You put your own self-esteem over those of your own sister and the young man she had chosen to become her life partner,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Douglas Rutherford told an expressionless Hasibullah Sadiqi. “And consigning them to partnership in death has shocked and bewildered every community in the nation’s capital. The forfeiture of your liberty for the rest of your life seems only just.”
Minutes earlier, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on two counts of first-degree murder against 23-year-old Sadiqi, who gunned down his 20-year-old sister, Khatera, and her fiancé, Feroz Mangal, 23, in the early hours of Sept. 19, 2006 while the couple was sitting in her parked car.
Prosecutor Mark Moors said Sadiqi was motivated by a “perverted notion of honour and respect … for the sole purpose of restoring the family’s reputation and respect in the Afghan community.”
Sadiqi, who had pleaded not guilty, will spend the next 25 years in jail.
Moors told the court that Sadiqi murdered the couple because Khatera moved in with Mangal’s family before the wedding and because she refused to have her estranged father involved in her wedding plans.
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His sister died at the scene. Mangal was taken off life support and died 10 days later.
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Key prosecution evidence included a transcript of an online conversation between Khatera Sadiqi and a friend who warned her about her brother’s anger months before she and her fiancé were shot.
“Listen ur brother is really pissed at you,” Zabeeulah Assadi wrote in an online chat.
“He is gunna do somthing unpredictable,” he wrote.
“So what is he goin to do?” Assadi is asked. His reply, translated, states “he wants to kill you.”
“No jokes,” Assadi continues. “Move to another city or somthing.”
“Okay okay but u know my brother ... he is all talk,” she replies.
“But this time he is not, that wat I thought too,” Assadi writes. “He is prepared.”
He goes on to say it is difficult to explain.
Later, the woman writes “No matter what … I still love him …and have respect for him.”“Cuz even if he ends up killing me ... I will still not dis respect him.”
Chris Cobb, The Ottawa Citizen, May 31, 2009
Aqsa Parvez, strangled to death, December 10, 2007
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Around 8 am (EST) on December 10, 2007, Peel Regional Police responded to a 911 call from a man who had said he had just killed his daughter. When officers arrived at a single-family detached home, they found Parvez suffering from life-threatening injuries. She was immediately taken to Credit Valley Hospital and later transferred in critical condition to the Hospital for Sick Children where she died. It was learned in court in 2010 that it was her brother who had strangled her, causing her to die from neck compression.One student reported that her father was threatening her, causing her to fear for her life. Parvez's friends also said she wanted to run away from her family to escape the conflicts with them.
Wikipedia, accessed January 21, 2011
Randjida Khairi, stabbed 5 times and throat slit open to the spine, March 18, 2008
The mother of six had her throat slashed by Peer Khairi, slit open to the spine and slowly suffocated in her own blood, Crown attorney Robert Kenny said in his opening to the jury.
“She was in the process of separating her finances and moving out of the family home,” Kenny said. “There had been fights between the couple about how permissive she was in raising their children, how she allowed them to dress and socialize as they liked, rather than asserting more control over their behaviour so that they kept the culture and rules of their birthplace.”
Khairi, now 65, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the March 18, 2008 slaying of Randjida, 53, his wife of more than 30 years, at their West Mall penthouse apartment.
But Peer Khairi will admit that he inflicted the fatal injuries, Kenny said. “What is at issue is how the death happened and what was going through the accused’s mind when it happened.
“The Crown’s position is that the evidence will show the accused intended to murder his wife,” Kenny told the jury.
Khairi had sliced through her throat, neck muscles, her airway and voicebox, back to her spine as she lay flat on her back on a small cot, Kenny said. She couldn’t scream or raise her head after the deep slashing.She was also stabbed five times in the torso with a second, shorter sharp-pointed knife, but the scarcity of blood reveals these wounds were perpetrated after the throat cut, court heard.
Sam Pazzano ,Toronto Sun, October 5, 2012
Eman Al-Mezel, threatened with death, September 2008
Ontario Superior Court Justice Lynn Ratushny said the sentence was the minimum penalty that Yusef Al Mezel could serve to address the "strong need" for denunciation and general deterrence after he implied that the actions of his 23-year-old daughter would be met with violence because she had shamed and dishonoured her family.
While the judge recognized Al Mezel was a respected community leader whose threats would not likely result in an honour killing, she said they do remain as threats of some possible form of violence in the name of honour that required significant condemnation."They invoke a seriously dangerous belief system that can and has led to violence against women," said Ratushny.
Andrew Seymour, Ottawa Citizen, November 11, 2009
Muruwet Tuncer, throat slit, January 30, 2009
One, she married at 16 in her native Turkey. He went to jail after stabbing her when she tried to leave him.
The second man she met after leaving her husband. The pair eventually had a son and moved to Canada together.
Yesterday, that man, 39-year-old Cengiz Isiko, was charged with her murder.
"She came here to escape, but it happened here again," said her sister, Munevver Tuncer.
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Tuncer was found with her throat slit Wednesday inside a home she had shared with her family on Elkwood Drive near West 5th Street.
Her niece, 13-year-old Rumeysa Cosgun, was stabbed several times in the abdomen and ran bleeding to neighbours' houses for help.
Cosgun, who was home from school for lunch during the violence, is in stable condition at McMaster hospital. Munevver Tuncer said Cosgun is "not herself yet."
"She's not getting worse, but not getting better."
Friends and family say Muruwet Tuncer was "full of life." She volunteered with her children's schools and worked at Settlement and Integration Services Organization, said SISO president Morteza Jafarpour.
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Tuncer filed for custody of their son after Isiko was accused of assaulting her in April 2005.
In the family court documents, she describes her common-law husband as someone with "a demanding nature," who expects total obedience.
The documents also stated Tuncer was worried Isiko would run off with their son as "a means of punishing me for not accepting his treatment of me."
Tuncer was given full custody of their son, who is now four, and Isiko was given access to the boy on alternating weekends and every other week of summer holidays.When Tuncer and Isiko were together, he forbade her from talking to her sisters. When they broke up, Isiko blamed them, Munevver said.
The Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women
Rona Amir Mohammad, Zainab, Sahari, and Geeti Shafia, found in car driven off a canal, July 2009
Sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, were found dead June 30 in a car submerged in the Rideau Canal at Kingston Mills. Rona Amir Mohammad, 50, also was found dead in the car. She was Shafia's first wife. The couple were married in Afghanistan.
The 10-member Shafia family moved to Montreal roughly three years ago.
Family members of Rona Mohammad alleged the deaths were an honour killing.
Mojab testified in English, unlike many of the other witnesses who appeared over the past four weeks.
Three siblings of Rona Mohammad, from France and Sweden, appeared at the proceedings and testified in Farsi, a dialect of Persian.
Another relative from Austria also appeared.
A number of witnesses from Montreal, including police officers, also appeared and testified in French.The three accused sat nearly shoulder to shoulder in the prisoner's box of the superior courtroom, listening to testimony Thursday. As they have done most days, they appear interested but showed no obvious emotion. Once they are brought into the courtroom, their handcuffs are removed. Shafia and his wife both wear headsets while English testimony is being given, so that they can listen to simultaneous translation provided by two interpreters in a sound-deadening booth installed in the courtroom.
Rob Tripp, The Whig Standard, October 22, 2010
Bahar Ebrahimi, stabbed in the neck, June 2010
It was June, 2010, Grand Prix weekend in downtown Montreal, and on two straight nights the 19-year-old stayed out past dawn against her parents’ wishes.
For her mother, Johra Kaleki, the behaviour confirmed that all her efforts to steer her eldest daughter on the right path had failed. “I felt like she would never be fixed,” she told Sgt.-Det. Alexandre Bertrand
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She hid the knife under her T-shirt, returned to the basement, and told her husband the problem would best be resolved between mother and daughter. “Just leave us alone for five minutes,” she said she told him. “Don’t come until I call you.”
He left and she cuddled her first-born and told her to lie on her stomach so she could give her a back massage. “Then I stab her, stab her neck,” she confessed. “She said, ‘No Mom!’ I said, ‘It’s for your good. Let me finish.’ ”
Earlier in the interrogation, Sgt.-Det. Bertrand has asked whether the knife blade was sharp. “No, it wasn’t,” she replied. “I wish it was. I wanted to give her the peace that she needed.”
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Her husband, alerted by Bahar’s screams, rushed downstairs and grabbed the knife from Ms. Kaleki, the court heard. “I said to my husband, let me finish her.’ ” She tried to choke her daughter, she said, and after Bahar escaped, she chased her upstairs and tried to break down the locked door to the bedroom where she was calling 911.
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They expected Bahar to be home by 11 p.m. and not to smoke, drink or have boyfriends.
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A few months earlier, when Ms. Kaleki discovered Bahar was being harassed by an ex-boyfriend, she blamed her daughter. After speaking to the boy once on the phone, Ms. Kaleki decided he sounded like “a very good Muslim guy” and told Bahar he would make a good husband. “Probably you’ve done something to drive him crazy,” she told her. “I know you. You’re my daughter.” Bahar refused the idea of marriage, calling the boy a “psycho.”
Toward the end of the four-hour interview, the detective asked Ms. Kaleki whether she had anything to add. “I hope she gets well,” she said referring to her daughter. But she did not want her to emerge unscarred.“She live with that wound,” she continued, pointing to her neck, “she remembers me.” The experience “will make her strong and give her wisdom. . . . It means she will give up her ways of living.”
Graeme Hamilton, National Post, September 27, 2012
Shaher Bano Shahdady, strangled to death, July 22, 2011
Shaher Bano Shahdady was just 21, a young mother who wanted to live her Canadian life as a free Canadian woman. And for that, she was strangled to death in front of her toddler.
From the Baloch region of Pakistan, she came to Toronto as a little girl. At 14, her father, Mullah Abdul Ghafoor, sent her back to Pakistan to study at a religious fundamentalist madrassa and a few years later she was forced into an arranged marriage with her first cousin.
But her precious son was her ticket back home.
Complications in her pregnancy allowed her to return to Toronto. Her baby was born with a serious heart defect that eventually required a transplant, but at least she was back in Canada. Shahdady was a devoted mother, her friends say, and while she lived with her strict religious family in Scarborough, she managed to escape through Facebook where she chatted with friends and administered a Baloch entertainment page that had 6,000 members.
She began to change, friends say. Shahdady no longer wanted to wear a burka that covered her face and body but would don just the hijab head scarf instead. She’d registered at the Adult Learning Centre to work on her high school diploma this fall and was hoping to one day realize her dream of becoming a doctor.
“All her friends were finishing college or university and getting good jobs and she felt she was being left behind,” explains family friend Zaffar Baloch. “She wanted to throw away the veil and live an ordinary independent life of a woman.”
But she had to sponsor her husband here and his arrival in May forced her back into the cage she had struggled so long to escape. He wanted her to wear a burka, to stay away from Facebook, to put aside any plans she had of resuming a secular education.
“She rebelled,” explains Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress. “With the help of social services, she got an apartment for herself and her son. She was leaving her husband and asking for a divorce. How dare she? It would dishonour everyone.”
She and her son moved out July 1. After just three weeks of freedom, she was dead.
Between 1 and 2 a.m. on July 22, neighbours in the building at 3131 Eglinton Ave. E. heard the shrill screaming of a child that went on for 15 minutes. And then silence. More than 15 hours later, Shahdady’s distraught father discovered his 2-year-old grandson alone in the apartment with his daughter’s dead body. She had been strangled on her bed.
Her estranged husband Abdul Malik Rustam, 27, turned himself in to police the next morning. He’s been charged with first-degree murder.
“Absolutely, it was an honour killing,” contends Fatah. “This is the fundamental issue here that no one wants to address. Nobody wants to tell Muslim men that women are not their possessions. It’s about women’s sexuality and men who say they own the franchise to it.”
Toronto Police refuse to confirm that. Maybe all the facts aren’t in yet. Or maybe it’s just not politically correct. “She decided to separate from the marriage and it’s alleged that he killed her,” says spokesman Tony Vella.
“This was clearly an honour killing,” the American Friends of Balochistan said in a statement. “No woman deserves to die in the way Shaher Bano Shahdady died.”
They have launched a Facebook group — Justice 4 Shaher Bano Shahdady Campaign, USA & Canada — that states: “All men and women are born equal. Period. There should be no honour killing. Period. There should be no forced marriage. Period. Women should have the right to be on Facebook. Period. There must be no child bride. Period.”Those are fundamental rights that are so basic — and yet they remain alien to far too many who come to this country from other cultures. And our silence means more women like Shahdady are destined to die.
Michele Mandel, Toronto Sun, August 4, 2011