Afghan Family, Led by Father Who Called Girls a Disgrace, Is Guilty of Murder

Source: NY Times.


It began with a puzzling and grisly discovery in 2009: a car submerged in a 19th-century canal lock with the bodies of three teenage girls and a middle-aged woman inside. On Sunday, the father, the mother and a brother of the girls were each convicted of four counts of first-degree murder.


Mohammad Shafia, front, his wife, Tooba Yahya, and their son Hamed were convicted of first-degree murder in Canada.

The verdict concluded a complex, three-month trial in which prosecutors described the crimes as “honor killings.” The defendants — Mohammad Shafia, 58; Tooba Yahya, 42; and their son Hamed, 21 — and the victims belonged to a family of Afghans who had moved to Canada two years before the crime, in June 2007, under a program for affluent immigrants. Both the woman in the car, Rona Amir Mohammad, and Ms. Yahya were married to Mr. Shafia.

During the investigation of the deaths, police wiretaps recorded Mr. Shafia repeatedly expressing the view, often in graphic, vulgar language, that the girls had disgraced his family by dating and by wearing revealing clothing. Other evidence showed that at least one of the dead girls was so frightened of her father that she sought help from the police to escape the household and be placed in foster care with her sisters, without success.

Mr. Shafia’s solution, prosecutors said, was to murder three of his seven children and Ms. Amir Mohammad, and to try, improbably, to make it look like an auto accident; they presented evidence that the car in the canal, a Nissan Sentra, was pushed there using the family’s Lexus, and that someone in the household had searched the Internet for advice on how to conduct a murder.

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