Terrible but true. And it was not only death, it was an honor killing for having fallen in love with someone not considered appropriate by her family.
Banaz Mahmod, 20 (right), was strangled with a boot lace, stuffed into a suitcase and buried in a back garden.
Her death is the latest in an increasing trend of such killings in Britain, home to some 1.8 million Muslims. More than 100 homicides are under investigation for being potential “honour killings”.
Mahmod Mahmod, 52, and his brother Ari Mahmod, 51, planned the killing during a family meeting, prosecutors told the court.
Two others have pleaded guilty in the case. Two more have fled the country. Sentencing is expected this month.
The men accused the young woman of shaming her family by ending an abusive arranged marriage, becoming too westernised and falling in love with a man who did not come from their Iraqi village. The Kurdish family came to Britain in 1998 when Banaz Mahmod was just 11.
“She was my present, my future, my hope,” said Rahmat Suleimani, 29, Banaz Mahmod’s boyfriend.
[…] Banaz Mahmod ran away from home when she was a teenager, but was later sent an audio tape in which her father warned he would kill her sisters, her mother and himself if she did not come home, her sister said.
She returned home and was later hospitalised after her brother attacked her, her sister testified. The brother said he had been paid by their father to finish her off, but in the end was unable to do it, the sister said, testifying in a full black burqa. She said she still feared for her life.
[…] The years of Banaz Mahmod’s abuse were compounded by officers who repeatedly dismissed her cries for help.
More about honor killings in Britain:
Honour killings were almost unheard of in Britain until a few years ago but police and prosecutors now estimate there are about a dozen such murders a year.
Campaigners say that the issue was misunderstood and that the authorities had been unwilling to get involved for fear of upsetting cultural sensitivities in minority communities.
Five policemen are under investigation for not having helped her.
It also emerged that in the two months before her death she had warned police four times that she believed her family wanted to murder her.
On one occasion she even recorded a chilling video message on a mobile phone – played to the jury – revealing her terror. In addition, she wrote a letter naming those she thought would do it, and deposited it with detectives, “in the event of her death”.
The police, however, dismissed her desperate warnings, with one female officer saying she thought she had made up the story to get her boyfriend’s attention.
On New Year’s Eve 2005, Banaz was found bleeding and terrified after her father tried to kill her. But PC Angela Cornes simply dismissed her as “dramatic and calculating”.
Instead of protecting the victim, the officer even considered charging the young woman with criminal damage because she had broken a window to escape.
PC Cornes admitted in court she might have made “a dreadful mistake” and Scotland Yard has launched an internal review into its handling of the case.
See here her desperate plea in video.
UPDATE 1: More at a Tangled Web:
During the trial the jury heard that the sister of tragic Banaz, (a Kurd), Bekhal Mahmod, 22, was also beaten, called a whore and accused of being too Westernised. Her uncle one told her ‘If I was your father you would have been turned to ashes by now’. ‘Your father’s your father. I would have killed you by now, got rid of you’. On hearing his conviction today Bekhal screamed with joy.
I understand her perfectly. Life with these two monsters should have been terrible indeed.
Rahmat Sulemani, 29, who has been forced to move home and live under a different name following the murder of Banaz Mahmod, said the family of his former lover hid their “dark side” beneath a veil of respectability.
He also criticised the police for not taking his initial concerns about 20-year-old Banaz seriously enough.
[…] They were convicted at the Old Bailey of killing Banaz and burying her body in a suitcase in the garden of a house in Birmingham.
“My life went away when Banaz died,” he said. “The only thing which was keeping me going was the moment to see justice being done for Banaz. I am just heartbroken and I am falling apart day after day.”
Rahmat was a hard-working friend of the family who was often invited to dinner, but despite this, he was not considered an option for Banaz.
Yet this did not stop their friendship developing into something deeper.
“We became close friends and at first it was just a normal friendship,” he said. “Then it kept on going. The more we knew about each other the stronger our feelings were for one another.”
He tried to convince Banaz’s father Mahmod to let the pair marry but he told her it was never going to happen and that even if he agreed, his brother and other members of the community would not allow it.
UPDATE 3: Shouldn’t also the Kurdish community share the blame? asks This is Stoke Newington. Hmm, yes that is an interesting thing to consider. No one even try to go to the police and confirm Banaz’s version. But, as I said before, life with these two monsters should have been a torture in itself: the father menacing to kill all the women in the family and then suicide himself, paying a son to kill his daughter, denying the permission to marry because the boyfriend was not from the same Iraqi village… And the uncle, similar.
We have to note that Banaz’s sister wears a black full burqa and yet was also beaten and called a whore and menaced with death.
But then European countries have signed a convention by which they cannot make foreign people assimilate in order to promote their cultures.Of ocurse, not all the cultures the immigrants bring with them are bad, but, if they want to live in Europe, they should be bound by our laws. There are basic questiones of public order which should be ever respected.
The typical example on Law school is the poligamy: as we do not consider polygamy as respecting equality and women’s dignity, then we aren’t allowing foreigners to be polygamous. The problem? Now polygamy is accepted by the Governments (UK is not the only one) even granting pensions to the multiple wives. Or giving pensions to men who are already married but use their time to search more wives on the Internet.
So, of course, the Kurdish community should be ashamed, but, if this father knew from the first moment that his intentions were going to be futile and that his daughter was really protected, maybe he would never have done what he did.
Lastly, more than in policemen, we should blame politicians which have been adoring multi-culturalism for so long. If they consider that they can, at the same time, fight domestic mistreatment and then, considering only the cultural background, defend that same thing on cultural basis -not to damage their sensibilities-, they are recognising that all citizens are not equal. And that is really the problem: is multi-culturalism compatible with equality? I am seeing lately than no.
[We had a case here in Spain. There was an Imam, who preached at Fuengirola’s mosque who wrote a book in which he told the men how they should beat their wives in order to not cause them any marks. There were people offended by it, but there was not a public uproar. At the same time, the ex-PP major of Madrid Alvarez del Manzano, said, when he was still Major, that domestic mistreatment happened more in couples which had not married than between married ones. Apart from agreeing more or less or nothing, the uproar that this caused was huge…. If anybody is interested, I can give him/her the links].