BRUSSELS: A Belgian court sentenced on Monday four members of a Pakistani family to prison for the “honour killing” of their law-student daughter and sister, the Belgian media reported.
After pronouncing the family members guilty for shooting to death Sadia Sheikh in October 2007, the jury sentenced father Tarik Mahmood Sheikh to 25 years behind bars, mother Zahida Parveen Sariya to 20 years, brother Mudusar to 15 and sister Sariya to five years.
Lawyers for the family said Sadia’s brother, Mudassir, who confessed to pulling the trigger on the three bullets that killed his sister, was handed a lesser jail term than his parents as they were considered to have ordered the girl’s death.
Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence for all three and between 20 and 30 years behind bars for Sariya.
Sadia, who defied the family by living with a Belgian and refusing an arranged marriage, was shot dead at the age of 20 on October 22, 2007.
Mudassir admitted before the jury of five women and seven men to killing his sister while saying the rest of the family were not to blame.
Her parents and sister stood accused of aiding and abetting the killing which took place when the student visited her family in the hopes of patching up their quarrel.
Questioned during Belgium’s first “honour killing” trial in south-western Mons, Mudassir said the killing was premeditated “for a long time”.
The trial also involved rights groups pleading for gender equality as part of a civil suit at the hearings.
The father, mother and sister, also facing charges of “attempting to arrange a marriage”, denied involvement in the murder, saying Mudassir killed his sister in a fit of rage.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2011.