Canada adds another point in the growing list of reasons to be proud of being Canadian today as judge and jury find that being Muslim is not an excuse for murder. Today is a good day to be Canadian.
Eeyore for Vlad
From the Ottawa Citizen:
Sadiqi has been found guilty on two counts of first degree murder. The
jury deliberating a verdict delivered their decision Saturday morning.
The decision carries an automatic sentence of life imprisonment without
the possibility of parole for 25 years.
A “twisted sense of values” led an Ottawa man to murder his sister and the man she loved, the judge in an honour killing trial said Saturday.
“You put your own self-esteem over those of your own sister and the young man she had chosen to become her life partner,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Douglas Rutherford told an expressionless Hasibullah Sadiqi. “And consigning them to partnership in death has shocked and bewildered every community in the nation’s capital. The forfeiture of your liberty for the rest of your life seems only just.”
Minutes earlier, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on two counts of first-degree murder against 23-year-old Sadiqi, who gunned down his 20-year-old sister, Khatera, and her fiancé, Feroz Mangal, 23, in the early hours of Sept. 19, 2006 while the couple was sitting in her parked car.
Prosecutor Mark Moors said Sadiqi was motivated by a “perverted notion of honour and respect … for the sole purpose of restoring the family’s reputation and respect in the Afghan community.”
Sadiqi, who had pleaded not guilty, will spend the next 25 years in jail.
Moors told the court that Sadiqi murdered the couple because Khatera moved in with Mangal’s family before the wedding and because she refused to have her estranged father involved in her wedding plans.
The jury, which reached its verdict in two days, rejected Sadiqi’s claim that he had been provoked and gunned down the couple while he was out of control.
Rutherford allowed the reading of two eloquent, emotionally-charged victim impact statements, one from Khatera’s mother and stepfather, the other from the Mangal family.
As some members of the jury wept, prosecutor Moors read the statement from Khatera’s mother and stepfather which did not directly mention honour killing, but urged others caught in a similar situation to: “Think, think hard and think again. The taking of another person’s life in an act of utter finality. No power on earth can open the door just closed … It is an act of betrayal which is also an act of self-betrayal. No human motivation is worth the consequences.”
In the Mangal family statement, Feroz’s brother Hameed spoke of their shattered dreams:
“My parents left a war-torn country Afghanistan to escape persecution and killings. We took refuge in a wonderful land, Canada, to seek opportunities, get education and achieve our goals. We saw Canada as a land where we could feel safe and secure … all our dreams, our hopes and our goals in life have been shattered.”
Sadiqi was born in New Delhi, India, to Afghani parents who brought him to Canada when he was five months old.
He killed Khatera and Mangal with a gun he claimed to be holding for an acquaintance who was paying him $500 a month. He refused to name the gun owner, claiming it would endanger his life in jail.
In testimony marked by numerous memory lapses, Sadiqi said he “exploded” after a tense conversation about the Sadiqi siblings’ father as they headed back to the Elmvale Acres shopping plaza after dinner and a movie.
Sadiqi said he wanted his sister, who was estranged from her father, to speak to him or at least respect and understand that he was “there for us,” during their youth.
The Sadiqi parents are divorced and Khatera had excluded her father from her wedding plans.
Sadiqi had hoped Mangal, as “an Afghani guy too and as a man,” would take his side and back him up, but instead, he supported Khatera, Sadiqi testified.
Mangal became angry, added Sadiqi, and said, “F—- you, f—- your father, f—- your sister. I’ll bring your sister’s dead body to the wedding before I ever let her talk to your father. F—- you.”
Sadiqi testifed that he could not recall details of the shootings and said he did not know the gun — a .44 Magnum — was loaded.
His sister died at the scene. Mangal was taken off life support and died 10 days later.
Phone records appear to show that Sadiqi called his father for a four-minute conversation immediately after the shooting.
“Do you have any memory, sir, of how it is, within a minute or two of shooting your sister and shooting Feroz, that you get on the phone and call your father?” Moors asked.
Sadiqi said he did not remember.
Nasima Fayaz, Sadiqi’s mother, testifed that 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 initially left with their father. Khatera and her sister, Aurezo, found her mother through relatives, Fayaz said. “The abuse was getting worse for my daughters in the house,” she said. The girls moved to Vancouver, but Sadiqi stayed in Ottawa to work and study.
Sadiqi told the trial that he welcomed his sister’s engagement, but was upset when she moved in with Mangal’s family without telling him.
University of Toronto professor Shahrzad Mojab told the trial that honour killings involve a cleansing of dishonour aimed at restoring a family’s respect after the “misbehaviour” of female relatives.
Losing honour could occur via anything from a woman’s appearance violating notions of modesty to refusing arranged marriage, requesting divorce or having a relationship without the permission of the family, Mojab said.
Methods to clear a family’s honour in such societies range from displacing a family member to “the act of purifying through blood,” she added.
In many cases, a father or brother will claim the killing happened out of passion or love for the woman, but it’s argued that the woman had to be sacrificed for the larger love of the family and restoring respect, Mojab said.
Moors had asked jurors to reject all of Sadiqi’s testimony, saying his lack of answers involving important issues and events were intended to hide the truth. Even the comment Sadiqi attributed to Mangal was “inconceivable,” Moors said.
Key prosecution evidence included a transcript of an online conversation between Khatera Sadiqi and a friend who warned her about her brother’s anger months before she and her fiancé were shot.
“Listen ur brother is really pissed at you,” Zabeeulah Assadi wrote in an online chat.
“He is gunna do somthing unpredictable,” he wrote.
“So what is he goin to do?” Assadi is asked. His reply, translated, states “he wants to kill you.”
“No jokes,” Assadi continues. “Move to another city or somthing.”
“Okay okay but u know my brother … he is all talk,” she replies.
“But this time he is not, that wat I thought too,” Assadi writes. “He is prepared.”
He goes on to say it is difficult to explain.
Later, the woman writes “No matter what … I still love him …and have respect for him.”
“Cuz even if he ends up killing me … I will still not dis respect him.”
With files from Neco Cockburn
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