Not long ago, a Canadian defence lawyer used Islamic religious freedom as a defence in a terrorism trial arguing that a defendant was within his religious rights to council advise and commit terrorist acts. Now we have honor killing being used as an actual defence in a Canadian Murder trial in Ottawa. Both of these cases are of extreme importance as they may set precedents which allow Islamic values to be mitigating factors in serious crime and hence make sharia a de facto law of the land. This, as is the previous case, is serious.
From the Ottawa Citizen May 8 2009: Hat tip Grace
Not a whodunit, so much as ‘why did he do it?’ defence says
Lawyers to argue Ottawa man not guilty of 2006 murder of sister, fiancé because he was provoked
By Neco Cockburn, The Ottawa Citizen
The flashes were quick, far in the dark distance at the rainy shopping plaza parking lot where Khatera Sadiqi would soon be found barely breathing, slumped against her fiancé in a car.
There are four flashes on the video footage caught by a bank’s ATM camera, then a pause as a car’s headlights sweep a nearby area. Then another flash. All within 37 seconds.
The footage was played during the first day of the murder trial of Hasibullah Sadiqi, where assistant Crown attorney Mark Moors told a jury they are expected to hear that the now 23-year-old man killed his sister and her fiancé in an “honour killing” rooted in anger over their engagement.
Sadiqi’s defence lawyers have indicated they will not dispute that Sadiqi was responsible for the killings, but will argue that he is not guilty of murder because he was provoked.
During his opening statements, Moors told the court that Sadiqi shot his 20-year-old sister, Khatera, and her fiancé, Feroz Mangal, with a .44 Magnum revolver while they sat in a parked car at the Elmvale Acres shopping plaza, at St. Laurent Boulevard and Smyth Road, just before 1 a.m. on Sept. 19, 2006.
Sadiqi, a Canadian of Afghan descent, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. The court is expected to hear he was upset because his sister got engaged without the permission of their father and had moved in with Mangal’s family, Moors told the five-woman, seven-man jury.
The trial is expected to hear that Sadiqi believed that his sister had brought dishonour upon the Sadiqi name, Moors said, later adding that a witness is expected to testify that Sadiqi said after the killing that he believed his sister would be a martyr and go to paradise.
Although Sadiqi came to Canada when he was very young, he had a “profound attachment” to his heritage, which shaped his views of relationships between men and women, Moors said. The Crown intends to lead expert testimony regarding honour killings, he said.
The defence will not dispute the fact that Sadiqi was responsible for the killings. Natasha Calvinho, one of Sadiqi’s lawyers, told the jury that the case centres on the classification of the homicides.
“It’s not a whodunnit so much as a ‘why did he do it?’ ” she said.
By the end of the trial, the defence is expected to advance the argument of provocation, which could reduce a murder charge to manslaughter if certain conditions are met, Calvinho said.
The Crown, meanwhile, will try to prove that Sadiqi’s actions were planned and deliberate.
Khatera Sadiqi was shot in the head and torso, while Mangal was shot in the neck and chest, Moors said. Sadiqi was pronounced dead at the scene, while Mangal was taken off life support 10 days later.
Moors said evidence will show that Khatera Sadiqi had driven her brother and Mangal back to the parking lot after a night out for dinner and a movie with friends. It was the first time Khatera and her brother had made plans to see each other since she and Mangal got engaged eight months earlier, Moors said.
Moors said expected evidence will indicate Sadiqi had intended to give his sister and her fiancé a chance to acknowledge that what they had done was wrong.
One witness is also expected to testify about instant messages with Khatera months earlier in which he had warned her of her brother’s anger and urged her to leave town, Moors said. Calvinho said that witness is expected to say he exaggerated.
Sadiqi, she said, will testify at the trial. He is expected to talk about his relationship with his sister and his love for her, Calvinho said. Sadiqi will not echo expected testimony about an abusive side to his father, she said.
Sadiqi is expected to say that he had not intentionally brought the gun, but it had been in his car for weeks as he was holding it, and other items including ammunition, for a friend, who, unlike Sadiqi, has a criminal record, Calvinho said.
The court heard that the gun had been stolen from a Gatineau home in 2005 –Sadiqi is not accused of the theft — and that other rounds of ammunition were later found by police in his apartment and car.
His Mazda was later found in an Orléans mall parking lot and the gun was found on the shoulder of Mer Bleue Road.
Evidence is expected to show that minutes after the shooting Sadiqi arranged to meet a friend in that area, Moors said. The court will hear that Sadiqi and his friend ended up at a Pizza Pizza where the friend worked and their interactions were caught on video camera, Moors said.
On Thursday, testimony was heard from Ottawa police officers who arrived first at the scene — one of whom said Khatera was breathing sporadically before paramedics arrived and she was pronounced dead — along with an officer who noted that items such as press clippings about Afghanistan and a flag were among items seen in Sadiqi’s apartment.
Sadiqi’s mother is among other witnesses expected to be called.
Sadiqi, bearded and wearing a dark suit with his black hair slicked back, could be seen writing while sitting in the prisoner’s box during Thursday’s proceedings.
The trial continues Friday.
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