Family guilty of Belgian honour killing
A Belgian court has sentenced four members of a Pakistani family to prison for the "honour killing" of their law student daughter and sister.
After pronouncing the family members guilty for the shooting death of Sadia Sheikh in October 2007, the jury sentenced father Tarik Mahmood Sheikh to 25 years behind bars, mother Zahida Parveen Sariya to 20 years, brother Mudusar to 15 and sister Sariya to five years.
Lawyers for the family said on Monday brother Mudusar, who confessed to pulling the trigger on the three bullets that killed his sister, was handed a lesser jail term than his parents as they were considered to have ordered the girl's death.
Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence for all three, and between 20 and 30 years behind bars for Sariya.
Sadia Sheikh, who defied the family by living with a Belgian and refusing an arranged marriage, was shot dead when aged 20 on October 22, 2007.
Mudusar admitted before the jury of five women and seven men to killing his sister while saying the rest of the family were not to blame.
Her parents and sister stood accused of aiding and abetting the killing which took place when the student visited her family in the hopes of patching up their quarrel.
Questioned during Belgium's first "honour killing" trial in southwestern Mons, Mudusar said the killing was premeditated "for a long time".
The trial also involved rights groups pleading for gender equality as part of a civil suit at the hearings.
Sadia Sheikh left the family home to study after her shopkeeper parents tried to arrange a marriage with a cousin living in Pakistan she had never met.
Before moving in with a Belgian man her age named Jean, she was helped by fellow students and teachers and also spent some time in a centre for victims of domestic violence, where she drew up a will as she felt threatened.
She had nonetheless agreed to visit the family in hopes of making peace the day she was shot.
The father, mother and sister, also facing charges of "attempting to arrange a marriage", denied involvement in the murder, saying Mudusar killed his sister in a fit of rage.-- AFP
It's a pity when this happened to one girl who all she wanted just a tiny freedom of having her future set for herself.
No doubt arranged marriage happened still, in this modern world, especially amongst the Arabian nations where family linked, or family name is very crucial in determining who would you be ending up your life with. One is not encouraged to marry another from unknown family root.
Family name mostly, will indicate from which clan and who was the ancestor back to the period of early Islamic realisation.
But in this case, as known, and through my own observation, as I can see lots of them here, Pakistani are an obedient lot.
They are very easily outraged -- if one notice from the constant bombing and fighting among themselves. Life to them seems so cheap and have no value at all.
It's also a shame if some, I'm sure, will blame the religion for such cruel act of honour killing.
Hopefully more Pakistani girls will have the gut to follow their own path rather than those being set upon them.