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Family convicted of 'honour killings'

30 January 2012, 16:33

New York - A Canadian court convicted three members of a family of Afghan origin for the murder of four female family members over what they saw as their shameful behaviour.

A jury on Sunday found Mohammad Shafia, aged 58, his wife Tooba Yahya, aged 42, and their son Hamed, aged 21, from Montreal, guilty of four counts each of first-degree murder for killing Shafia's daughters and his first wife.

"It is difficult to conceive of a more despicable, more heinous, more honourless crime," Judge Robert Maranger said.

He added that their "completely twisted concept of honour" had "absolutely no place in any civilised society".

Geeti, aged 13, Sahar, aged 17, Zainab, aged 19, and Shafia's other wife 52-year-old Rona Amir Mohammad were found drowned in a car in a canal in Kingston in June 2009.

Barbaric and unacceptable

Prosecutors argued that the sisters had shamed the conservative family with their revealing clothing, refusal to wear hijabs and boyfriends. Rona Amir Mohammad had tried to protect them.

A conviction for first-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence and at least 25 years must be served before becoming eligible for parole.

The four defendants had maintained their innocence during the 10-week trial despite incriminating wiretap recordings in which Mohammad Shafia said he hoped the devil would defecate on their graves.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson called honour killings "barbaric and unacceptable in Canada" in a statement issued after the court handed down its verdict.


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