Two Asians get life term for 'honour killing'

They murdered their cousin Sahjda Bibi as her marriage to a non-blood relative and a relative would break with the family tradition.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2004 16:44 IST

Two British Asians who murdered their cousin on her wedding day this year as "honour killing" have been jailed for life.

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Sahjda Bibi, 21, was stabbed to death because her marriage to a non-blood relative and divorcee would have broken with family tradition.



As Bibi put her wedding dress in her bedroom in Alum Rock, Birmingham, on January 11, her cousin Rafaqat Hussain arrived and asked if he could take her picture in the next room.

Instead he pulled out a kitchen knife and stabbed her 22 times. Alerted by the screams, her mother, Allah Raki, ran into the room to find her daughter dying.

As Hussain fled the scene, Zaffar Mughal, 29, the bridegroom, ran from the house next door and tackled him. Mughal was stabbed, as was the bride's brother, before the killer was driven away in a BMW by another cousin, Tafarak Hussain.

After the attack he fled to the Pakistani capital Islamabad on a ticket supplied by his cousin. He was held at Heathrow when he returned to see his children two months later.

Rafaqat Hussain, 38, of Camberley, Surrey, pleaded guilty to the murder. Tafarak Hussain, 26, of Birmingham, was convicted by a jury of the same offence last week.

As he sentenced the men to life, Justice Wakerley said: "Those who live here in our multicultural and multiracial tolerant society must accept our laws."

The younger cousin was found guilty of murder by means of "joint enterprise" despite playing a lesser role in the crime.

Bibi angered her cousins when she fell in love with a man she met at a family wedding. Despite convincing her parents that the divorced father was the right choice for a husband, other relatives did not approve.

Birmingham Crown Court was told that Rafaqat Hussain, a factory worker, and his cousin, a taxi company owner, had finalised details of their plan on the wedding day.

The elder of the pair told police that the stabbing had been accidental, but officers said he had been incensed by Bibi's choice of husband.

Bibi's father, Sadkar Khan, 66, described the killing as a cowardly act against a defenceless girl.

First Published: Jan 16, 2004 16:44 IST