From the Ottawa Citizen May 9 2009 hat tip grace
Tearful mother speaks of abuse at ‘honour killing’ trial
OTTAWA — A hostile encounter between Hasibullah Sadiqi and his sister’s fiancé, Feroz Mangal, occurred in a shopping mall months before Mangal and Sadiqi’s sister, Khatera, were gunned down, an Ottawa court heard Friday.
The testimony emerged during the emotional second day of Sadiqi’s trial.
The 23-year-old faces two first-degree murder charges, accused of shooting his sister and Mangal with a revolver while they sat in a car at the Elmvale Acres shopping plaza shortly before 1 a.m. on Sept. 19, 2006. Khatera was pronounced dead at the scene, while Mangal was taken off life support 10 days later.
The Crown’s theory is that the slaying was an “honour killing” sparked by anger over the couple’s engagement.
Sadiqi’s defence lawyers, meanwhile, do not deny that their client is responsible for the deaths, but are expected to argue he was provoked, which could reduce a murder charge to manslaughter.
The trial has started to hear evidence of the complex web of culture, tradition, history and relationships thought to be at the centre of the case.
The first civilian witness to testify was Sadiqi’s mother, Nasima Fayaz.
As she took the witness box, metres away from her son, she began to cry.
Fayaz said she and her former husband, both from Afghanistan, came to Canada in the 1980s with their son, Hasibullah, who was five months old. They settled in Ottawa and had two daughters, Khatera and Aurezo.
Fayaz called herself open-minded, but said her former husband was very traditional and abusive. They divorced and she moved to the Vancouver area in 1999, she said. After some court proceedings, the children were left with their father.
Six years later, Khatera tracked her down through other relatives, Fayaz said.
“The abuse was getting worse for my daughters in the house,” she said. Fayaz said she sent tickets to her children and her daughters eventually moved in with her.
Sadiqi did not move to live with his mother, citing work and then college, she said.
He protected his other family members from the alleged wrath of his father, his mother and 15-year-old sister, Aurezo, told the court. When things got bad and Khatera tried to commit suicide by taking pills, it was Sadiqi, not their father, who tried to get her to go to hospital, they said.
After learning that her daughter wanted to marry Mangal, Fayaz said she thought they were young, but wanted to support them.
Fayaz and Hasibullah Assadi, a close friend to Sadiqi who knew Khatera and Mangal, both testified that Sadiqi did not appear to be angry when he learned of the engagement.
Assadi said Sadiqi seemed happy about the news, and thought Mangal appeared to be a nice guy.
Sadiqi had asked the couple to wait for a week or so, so he could talk to his father about it, Assadi said. In earlier testimony, Fayaz said Sadiqi had asked for a week to “check out” Mangal.
Although Khatera wanted her brother involved in the engagement, she wanted nothing to do with her father, Fayaz said.
Khatera went to Ottawa, likely in late January or early February 2006, but didn’t tell her brother about her return, Fayaz said. Khatera lived with an aunt and eventually moved in with Mangal and his family, the court heard.
That seemed to anger Sadiqi, Assadi said.
The brother “was really upset about this because Khatera is his sister, instead of coming up to him, like living with him, she’s going to Feroz and his house, living there. That’s not right,” Assadi said. Sadiqi was also upset that Mangal had spent time with Khatera in Vancouver, Assadi said.
Assadi said he and Sadiqi were in the St. Laurent Shopping Centre in early or mid-spring 2006 when they saw Khatera and Mangal.
Khatera tried to speak to her brother, but Sadiqi told her to leave, Assadi said.
Mangal confronted Sadiqi about the way he spoke to Khatera, Assadi said, but Sadiqi said he could talk to his sister how he liked.
Mangal started to take off his jacket, as if preparing to fight, and the pair were separated, Assadi said. Sadiqi “wasn’t really happy” about Mangal’s actions, Assadi testified.
He said the engagement had unfolded in a non-traditional way. Although some in the Afghan community saw it as OK, others “wouldn’t see this as the right way.”
That could have affected the Sadiqis’ reputation, Assadi said.
Assistant Crown attorney Mark Moors asked Assadi what Sadiqi told people about the engagement.
Assadi said Sadiqi told them the couple wouldn’t be happy anymore. Pushed further by the Crown, he paused, appearing to choke up.
“That it’s not going to last long,” he said.
The trial, before a jury, continues Monday.
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