UK: Two more murderers of honour crimes victim Banaz Mahmod face justice
The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation welcomes the news that the remaining two suspects in the Banaz Mahmod murder trial, Mohammed Ali and Omar Hussain, have been found guilty at the Old Bailey today. Ali was sentenced to a minimum of 22 years and Hussain to 21 years.
Initially the Iraqi and Kurdistan Regional Governments were reluctant to hand Ali and Hussain over to the UK authorities, but they became the first suspects ever extradited to Britain from Iraq after sustained campaigning to bring them to justice by the London based Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO).
Diana Nammi, Director of IKWRO today said:
“Today marks a major step forward in the campaign for Justice for Banaz. We would especially like to thank Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode and all of her team for their hard work in bringing Mohammed Ali and Omar Hussain to justice. We would also like to thank all of the individuals and organisations in the UK and in Kurdistan whose enormous support enabled this to happen.”
“The extradition and conviction of Ali and Hussain sends out a strong message that there can be no safe havens for those who kill in the name of ‘honour’. We call on all countries to protect women from this brutal practice and to ensure that all those who commit ‘honour’ killing face justice, where ever they are in the world.”
In January 2006 Banaz Mahmod was tortured and strangled, and her body stuffed into a suitcase which was found buried under a Birmingham patio three months later. Before her death Banaz had told police several times that her family were planning to kill her because she had fallen in love with Rahmat Suleimani, a man of whom they did not approve, but police failed to protect her.
“IKWRO was unable to make a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commissioner because the rules only permit victims’ families to do so. IKWRO has called for a change in the rules so that in honour killing cases, where the family is responsible for the murder, organisations like IKWRO will be able to make complaints in the public interest” said Diana Nammi today.
“While strongly welcoming the successful prosecution of Ali and Hussain today, it is also important to learn from the failings in this case.”
10 November 2010
For further information and comment please contact:
Diana Nammi, 07862 733511
Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation
Tel: 0207 920 6460
fax: 0207 920 6495
Justice delayed but not denied to Banaz Mahmod
Story Posted: 10 November 2010
Omar Hussein and Mohammed Saleh Ali have been found guilty of the so-called ‘honour’ killing of Banaz Mahmod at the Old Bailey today.
Dr Aisha Gill, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Roehampton University campaigned with women’s activists in Northern Iraq and the UK to ensure these men were extradited to the UK to face justice for this heinous murder and observed the trial at the Old Bailey.
Banaz Mahmod Babakir Agha’s family migrated to Britain from Kurdish Iraq in 1998. Banaz was aged 21 years and was living in Mitcham, South London, when she was raped and strangled with a shoelace, in 2006. Banaz’s body was stuffed into a suitcase and buried in a garden in Handsworth, Birmingham. Her decomposing body was found in April 2006, three months after she disappeared.
In June 2007, her father and her uncle were found guilty of her murder. Banaz’s father was found to have ordered the killing, but his brother had it carried it out. Another member of the Iraqi Kurdish community, Pshtewan Hama, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. In March 2007, a further man, Mohammed Marif Hama, who was not a relative but belonged to the Iraqi Kurdish community, pleaded guilty to murdering Banaz. He was recruited by Banaz’s father to assist with the murder.
Banaz’s crime was to fall in love with a Kurdish Muslim man, twenty-eight year old Rahmat Suleimani, who was not from the same clan group but, instead, was a Kurdish man from Iran. They met at a family gathering, fell in love and decided to elope. This behaviour was perceived as scandalous by the family, and her actions became known throughout the tight-knit Kurdish community in South West London.
Women’s and other organizations internationally lobbied the governments in both the UK and Iraqi Kurdistan to extradite the two remaining suspects in the murder following the guilty verdicts in June 2007. The extradition was finally ordered by the Iraqi authorities in spring 2010. Omar Hussein and Mohammed Saleh Ali stood trial at the Old Bailey in October - November 2010. Both men were found guilty of the murder of Banaz Mahmod and guilty of threats to kill Rahmat Sulemani. The third man Sardar Mahmood was found not guilty of all counts - conspiracy to kidnap, threats to kill Rahmat Sulemani and perverting the course of public justice .
Viewing the case at the Old Bailey, Dr Gill said: “Justice has finally been done. Credit must go to the Metropolitan Police investigating team who has progressed considerably in putting in place a more robust criminal justice-focussed national strategy on ‘honour’ based violence by implementing risk assessments, guidance on identification, evidence-gathering and prosecution, and recently rolling-out training for police officer and others since the murder of Banaz.”
“Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go. Both ‘honour’ based violence survivors and women’s NGOs working with the police continue to encounter inadequate responses and poor practice which needs to be addressed, as well as potentially judgmental and stigmatizing attitudes about BMER women who seek help from the police in such cases.