Belgium: Four family members convicted of 'honor' murder

Belgium: Four family members convicted of 'honor' murder

(Sadia's sister, father and mother in court)

Via Knack (Dutch):

On Friday the Court of Assize of Henegouwen convicted the four members of the Pakistani Sheikh family of the murder of Sadia Sheikh (22).

Tariq Sheikh, Sadia's father, and her brother Mudusar were convicted by the jury,with aggravating circumstances since it was an honor murder and an attempted forced marriage. Parveen, Sadia's mother, and her sister Sariya, were also convicted of murder, with aggravating circumstances of honor murder, but were acquitted of the charges of attempted forced marriage.

The jury convicted the four family members after three weeks of debates in court. Sadia was a senior of law at the Charleroi university college. She was murdered on October 22, 2007 in the Lodelinsart section of the city.

Mudusar's conviction was based on his confession, and due to the fact that he committed the murder in order to restore the family's honor, which had been violated by his sister who, as a woman, refused to submit.

Regarding father Tariq Sheikh there were various issues to his detriment, including the speedy conclusion of the forced marriage with a cousin in Pakistan via webcam and the administrative steps he took to officialize the marriage.

Sariya was convicted due to ballistic analysis which linked her to the incident. The mother stated in her testimony that she preferred her daughter die rather than marry a non-Muslim.

During the court case the prosecution and civil parties who had joined the suit, the Institute for Equality of Men and Women and the Union of Independent Health Services, tried to show that every member of the family played a significant role in Sadia's murder.

The defense claimed that the investigation was blemished by the media attention to the crime. The family's lawyers also claimed that, except for Mudusar, there was enough doubt against conviction.