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Canada Jails Afghan Immigrants For 'Honor Killings' Of Wife, Daughters


Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya, and their son Hamed (right to left) arrive at the Kingston, Ontario, courthouse on January 26.

Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya, and their son Hamed (right to left) arrive at the Kingston, Ontario, courthouse on January 26.

A husband and wife originally from Afghanistan have been found guilty in Canada of murdering their three teenage daughters and the father's first wife in a case that the judge described as stemming from a "twisted concept of honor."

Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba, and their eldest son, Hamed, were sentenced on January 29 to 25 years in prison without parole in a case that transfixed Canada.

Prosecutors argued that Shafia felt ashamed of the rebellious behavior of his three teenaged daughters -- Zainab, Sahar, and Geeti -- and arranged for them to die in a staged car accident in June 2009.

The father, wife, and son were also convicted of the killing of Rona Amir Mohammad, Shafia's first wife in a polygmous family, for purportedly being too lenient toward the girls.

The court heard testimony suggesting that the father had repeatedly clashed with his daughters on many issues, including dating, clothes, and use of the Internet.

Canadian newspapers have published police transcripts in which Sharia called his daughters "whores" and said "nothing is more dear to me than my honor."

The daughters ranged in age from 13 to 19 years, and their bodies were found along with that of Shafia's childless first wife in the family car in a canal in Ontario, Canada, after a trip to Niagara Falls. The prosecution alleged that the victims were drowned elsewhere before their bodies were placed in the car and it was pushed into the canal.

“It is difficult to conceive of a more heinous, more despicable, more honorless crime,” Judge Robert Maranger said. He said the defendants' actions have "absolutely no place in any civilized society."

Lead investigator Chris Scott, speaking to reporters in Kingston in Ontario, Canada, urged the public to remember the victims in the case.

"You know what? I don't want to give [the killers] any more voice than they've already had," Scott said. "To me, and this will be my last comment I'm going to make today, it's Rona, Zainab, Sahar, Geeti -- that's who we should be thinking about, that's who we should be talking about, not these other people."

Compiled from agency reports

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