Parents of Pakistani teen sentenced to life in prison for 'honour killing' in Italian court

Parents of Pakistani Teen Sentenced to Life in Prison for ‘Honour Killing’

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Parents of Pakistani teen sentenced to life in prison for 'honour killing' in Italian court

File photo of women protesting against so-called honour killings in Pakistan. Image: GETTY IMAGES


Parents of Pakistani teen sentenced to life in prison for ‘honour killing’ in Italian court.

A Pakistani couple were given life sentences by an Italian court for the murder of their daughter, who was 18 years old, because she refused to be married off in an arranged marriage.

In November 2022, after 18 months after her disappearance, Saman Abbas’s corpse was discovered at a farmhouse in northern Italy.

In August, her father Shabbar Abbas was extradited from Pakistan to stand trial for her murder. He was apprehended in Pakistan.

While she was away, her mother, Nazia Shaheen, was found guilty. It is thought that she is currently residing in Pakistan.

According to Shabbar Abbas, “never in my life did I think of killing my daughter.” This was part of an emotional appeal delivered by Abbas earlier in court.

Two of the teen’s relatives were acquitted, while her uncle Danish Hasnain received a 14-year prison sentence for his role in the murder.

It shocked Italy when Saman Abbas’s family allegedly killed her in an honour killing in late April 2021.

In the wake of her abduction, the Islamic community union in Italy issued a fatwa, a religious decree, condemning the practice of forced marriage.

The adolescent and her family reportedly left Pakistan for the rural Italian hamlet of Novellara in 2016.

Reportedly, her parents were enraged when they saw a photo of her and a young man of Pakistani descent kissing on a Bologna street, the regional capital.

The daughter of Saman Abbas allegedly rebuffed her parents’ 2020 request that she go to Pakistan for an arranged marriage. Investigators from Italy are looking into the matter.

According to Italian news outlets, she was placed under the custody of social services in October of that year.

However, after receiving a flood of communications from her family, she returned to their house in Novellara in late April of 2021.

According to the prosecution, she vanished after being deceived into going back home.

On April 29, 2021, three members of Saman Abbas’s family were seen walking with spades, a crowbar, and a blue bag, according to CCTV footage that the police revealed.

The adolescent went missing the day after that, but two independent pieces of footage showed her parents and the teenager leaving the house.

Following her uncle’s revelation of her burial site, her remains were located near a farm house in November, not far from the family’s home.

She may have been strangled to death, since a postmortem investigation revealed a fractured neck bone.

Parents of Pakistani teen sentenced to life in prison for 'honour killing'

Members of the family holding spades were captured on video in late April. Image: CARABINIERI


Upon her disappearance, her parents departed from Italy for Pakistan without delay, while her uncle Danish Hasnain, two of her cousins, and another relative travelled to France and Spain.

The uncle was eventually imprisoned in Paris in 2021, while her father was arrested in 2022 and finally extradited on 31 August this year. Her mom has gone missing.

The parents were found guilty and given life sentences by a court in the northern Italian city of Reggio Emilia, even though Nazia Shaheen was not present.

Shabbar Abbas had previously maintained his innocence in court, stating that he and his wife had merely trailed after their daughter that fateful night she went missing out of sheer frustration at the late hour and a desire to know where she was heading.

We have not finished this trial. I too want to know who killed my daughter,” he stated, according to Italian media.

The idea that a murder might be “honourable” is said to have evolved from some tribal conventions, where an allegation against a woman is perceived to bring disgrace to her family.

According to these customs, male family members of a woman who has interactions with unrelated men – however innocuous – should first kill the woman, then go after the man.

According to human rights organizations, the victims of sexual assault or rape are the most common victims of “honour killings” because they refuse to participate in an arranged marriage.

However, murder can also occur for less serious offences, such as showing disobedient attitude or dressing in an unacceptable manner.

Hundreds of women are murdered in this manner annually in Pakistan.

These cases likewise involve the murder of a significantly lesser number of males.

Following instructions from tribal elders, an 18-year-old woman’s father and uncle shot and killed her last month in the isolated Kohistan area.

The reason behind the shooting was a photo showing the woman with a male.

It was discovered later that the photo had been altered after it went viral. She has an uncle who is evading capture and an arrested father.

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