Britain: "honor" killing sentence of 20 years

A man in London has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for the brutal "honor killing" of his sister in April 2005.

Azhar Nazir, 30, and the sibling's 17-year old cousin, Imran Mohammed, attacked 25-year old Samaira Nazir in the family's Southall home, stabbing her 18 times, This Is London reported.

The family became outraged at the young woman after she rejected arranged marriage plans in favor of an Afghan man who was reportedly not from a wealthy family. When she asked permission to marry, the brother apparently felt the need to honor the family by murdering her. [Esther: he 'apparently' felt the need to restore the family honor, not honor the family]

The teenage cousin was told he would spend 10 years in jail for his participation in the crime.
The victim's 61-year-old father was also arrested in the murder, but he reportedly fled to Pakistan after being released on bail.

From Wikipedia:

In England and Wales, a life sentence is a prison term of indeterminate length. Formerly, the Home Secretary reserved the right to set the "tariff", or minimum length of term, for prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment, but since the Criminal Justice Act 2003 only a judge may set the tariff. The Act specifies three broad categories of murder with three "starting point" sentences. A "Whole Life Tariff" (known in the US as "life without parole") exists for multiple murders which involve sexual abuse of children or terrorism, as well as any murderer who had come out of prison and killed again. If such a sentence is handed down, then a prisoner is unlikely ever to be released from prison. A starting point of 30 years exists for people convicted of single murders involving sexual or sadistic conduct, killing using a firearm, during the course of a robbery or the killing of a Police Officer. For other murders the minimum starting point is a life sentence with a minimum of 15 years.

Samira Nazir was held down by her father, brother and cousin, who then tied a scarf around her neck and stabbed her three times. All this, with her mother and her two little nieces, who were 2 and 4 years old at the time, watching.

On its face, this is a strong statement by the UK courts against so called "honor" murders. These murders, which bring shame on the whole of society. And yet - I believe that in this case, the courts could have done much more.

It is up to the courts in the UK to decide whether they're coming down on "honor" murders. Whether these murders constitute abuse of children (a minor child was involved in the murder and two very young children were forced to watch). Though handing down a long sentence for the murderer - the minor was given a reduced sentence due to his age, the mother who was there during the murder was freed and the brother was given only a minor punishment compared to what he could have received according to UK law.

Source: Political Gateway (English)

See also: Britain: Verdict in honor killing case - includes more background info on the story.

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