Gul Meena (inset), a young Afghan girl, is slowly recovering from an axe attack that nearly killed her, according to this new report in the New York Times. Her brother rained 15 blows on her neck and head that opened her skull. He intended to kill her. His motive was honour, the same “twisted notion of honour” at work in Canada’s infamous Shafia case, in which three members of an immigrant Afghan family were convicted of murdering four other family members, including three sisters. In both cases, the perpetrators believed that their families had been dishonoured and that the only way to cleanse the shame was to kill the offenders. The Meena case, first reported by the New York Times in December 2012, provides stark contradiction of some evidence heard during the Shafia trial (read all trial coverage). Several defence witnesses in the Canadian case, people who grew up in Afghanistan, claimed that they had never heard of honour killings in their home country.
When a small black Nissan Sentra was found submerged in a shallow canal in eastern Ontario on June 30, 2009 with four dead females inside – members of the Shafia family – investigators had one critical question: Was it a freak accident or a heinous murder? Key to teasing out the answer was a meticulous analysis of the Nissan, another Shafia vehicle – a Lexus SUV – and the scene at the canal. Constable Chris Prent, a provincial police officer and collision reconstruction expert, produced a detailed 94-page document. In it, Prent revealed his conclusion: The Nissan was deliberately pushed into the canal by someone operating the Lexus. This theory was the centrepiece of the criminal case that saw three members of the Shafia family – Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba Yahya, and their son Hamed – each convicted by a jury of four counts of first-degree murder. Constable Prent’s 94-page document, titled An Analysis of the Events at Kingston Mills Locks (Rideau Canal), City of Kingston – was not given to the jurors. The 12 people who decided that the Shafias were guilty of mass murder did not see the document.
If Peer Khairi (inset) is found guilty of murdering his wife in an honour killing, as alleged by prosecutors, it will make Randjida Khairi at least the 16th person to die in Canada since 1990 in an honour killing in which the perpetrator was convicted, according to my research. In three additional deaths, court proceedings are still underway, including two in 2011. I believe there may be many more Canadian homicide cases that were not recognized as honour killings. Khairi is accused of stabbing to death his wife Randjida in 2008 in Toronto, Ontario in a case with troubling parallels to the Shafia case. Peer Khairi, like Mohammad Shafia, is an Afghan immigrant who brought his family to Canada. His murder trial began October 5.
It began thirty-nine months ago, on a slow Tuesday morning at the newspaper where I worked as a crime reporter. I was making a round of routine cop checks, as they’re called among journalists. It’s an old fashioned but still useful practice of reaching out to police departments by telephone several times each day, to ask a duty officer or a spokesperson if anything newsworthy is happening. That morning, on June 30, 2009, around 11 a.m., I reached the duty sergeant at Kingston Police. He had something for me, something that seemed at first to be routine, but which would turn out to be the biggest story I had ever covered.
A mother of seven children who was convicted of the “despicable” and “heinous” murder of three of those children and her husband’s first wife has begun serving her life sentence in a federal penitentiary in Kitchener, Ontario, Cancrime learned. Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 42, (inset) was quietly transferred recently to Grand Valley Institution, a 15-year-old federal facility for women who are serving sentences of two years or more. Yahya’s husband Mohammad Shafia, 58, and her eldest son Hamed, 21, were moved to maximum-security Kingston Penitentiary in Kingston, Ontario, last week, Cancrime revealed previously.
Three members of a Montreal family have been imprisoned for life after a jury found them guilty of murdering four other family members in a crime the judge called “cold-blooded, shameful murders” based on a “twisted notion of honour.” Mohammad Shafia, 58, (inset) his second wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 42, and their son Hamed, 21, were each found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder after a jury deliberated for 15 hours. The verdicts came after a three-month-long trial that heard from 58 witnesses.
Jurors who will decide the fate of three members of a Montreal family accused of murdering four others have three options, they were told Friday (jan 27) by the judge presiding over the case. The 12 jurors can find each accused guilty of first- or second-degree murder or they can find them not guilty, Judge Robert Maranger of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said, in his closing remarks to jurors. Maranger completed reading his 240-page address just after 4 p.m.