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German-Afghan gets life for 'honour killing'

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Ahmad-Sobair O. and his lawyer before the verdict was annouced. Photo: DPA
15:07 CET+01:00
A German-Afghan man was sentenced to life in prison for the “honour killing” of his sister on Friday, creating mayhem in the court room as family members screamed, assaulted journalists and attempted suicide.

The 24-year-old Ahmad-Sobair O. was convicted of murdering his 16-year-old sister Morsal O. on May 15, 2008 because she had turned away from her family. The girl died after suffering 23 stab wounds in a Sankt Georg district parking lot in Hamburg. Both siblings, who immigrated to Germany 13 years ago, have German citizenship.

“He killed out of pure intolerance,” Hamburg Judge Wolfgang Backen said while reading the verdict, adding that the murder was “treacherous” and a premeditated “bloodbath” after all other attempts to “discipline” his sister had failed.

His verdict sparked dramatic scenes in the court room as Ahmad Sobair O.'s family and friends wailed and hit the security glass behind which he was sitting. The accused himself began screaming: “You son of a whore! What is this, honour? I know no honour!”

He also yelled that had the trial taken place in Kabul, Afghanistan, he would have already been released long ago.

The murderer's mother then tried to throw herself out of a courtroom window, but was restrained by family members. Relatives of the accused also assaulted and threatened a journalist in the room.

According to Backer, the late Morsal O. had been victim to “many years of martyrdom” in the form of threats and assault from her brother.

Before she was murdered, Morsal O. had been seen by emergency youth services on several occasions, suffering from pressures by her family, which did not approve of her Western lifestyle. After the verdict, her parents sharply criticised the judge, saying the girl bore some of the guilt for her own murder.

Backer said her parents had made their son into the “executioner” of their “parenting methods.”

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Ahmad-Sobair O. has already been prosecuted for assaulting her and others. He was sentenced in March to one year and five months without possibility of probation on an assault charge. He had requested his March sentence be deferred, but was notified in writing - a day before the stabbing - that the request had been rejected.

A series of six honour killings - including the shooting at a bus stop of 23-year-old Turkish woman Hatun Sürücü in Berlin - shook Germany in 2005. Sürücü's youngest brother, Ayhan Sürücü, later confessed to killing her because his family did not approve of her lifestyle.

According to news agency DPA, some 50 women have been the victim of honour killings in Germany over the last decade.

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