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British woman 'honour killing' trial opens in Pakistan

The trial of the father and ex-husband of a British woman for her alleged rape and murder in a so-called honour killing has opened in Pakistan.

Mohammad Shahid is accused of killing his daughter, Samia Shahid, 28, along with her ex-husband, Mohammad Shakeel.

Defence lawyer Mohammed Arif said t he court in Islamabad gave copies of the charge sheet to the two men, who must decide by October 7 if they plead guilty or not guilty before Judge Ambreen Qureshi.

After appearing at a pre-trial hearing last week, Mohammad Shahid spoke to reporters outside the courtroom and denied all the charges.

"We will contest the case," lawyer Mr Arif said on Tuesday, suggesting the accused may plead not guilty.

Mrs Shahid, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, was visiting family in July when she was found dead of what were initially assumed to be natural causes, and buried in a local cemetery in the village of Pandori.

However, a fresh inquiry was ordered by the Pakistan government after her second husband, Syed Mukhtar Kazam, publicly accused her family of killing her because they opposed her decision to divorce her first husband in 2014 and marry him.

A police investigation concluded that her ex-husband raped her as her father stood guard before they both strangled her. It described the killing as "premeditated, cold-blooded murder".

The investigation also implicated the victim's mother, Imtiaz Bibi, and sister, Madiha Shahid, who are British nationals, accusing them of luring her into the murder plot.

It said both women fled back to England after the murder, and suggested they should be extradited to Pakistan to be tried on abetment charges.

Mrs Shahid married her first husband in February 2012 but stayed only briefly in Pakistan before returning to England where she obtained a divorce two years later.

After that, she married her second husband and moved with him to Dubai. Her family never accepted the second marriage, because Mr Kazam is a Shiite Muslim and not a relative, the police report said.

Pakistan reports nearly 1,000 "honour killings" every year.



From Belfast Telegraph