Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sign of progress

Conspiracy is a crime in and of itself in the US -- any person in a conspiracy can be criminally liable for the criminal acts of the conspirators as if the person himself committed those acts. Thus, the crimelord who orders a killing is liable for the murder.

In Europe, "honor killings" have been treated as random acts of violence. They're not. Instead, the males in a Muslim household order or organize the killing of their sister, female cousin, daughter, niece, whatever for the crime of staining the family honor by disobeying the patriarchal wishes of a father, consorting with non-Muslims, or other imagined "crimes" against the family. Honor killings are barbaric.

This week, for the first time, a European jury held both the actual killer and the family members complicit in the killing criminally responsible for the death of Ghazala Khan, a woman of Pakistani origin who was born, raised in and citizen of Denmark. Here's a description of the murder and the sentences:

Ghazala had married an Afghan man, 27-year old Emal Khan, against the wishes of her father. An aunt, the youngest sister of Ghazala’s mother, who had told the young couple that she would try to reconcile them with her family, asked them to come to Slagelse train station. Her brother Akhtar shot her dead in front of the station and wounded Emal Khan, who survived the murder attempt.

On Wednesday a Danish judge sentenced Akhtar Abbas to 16 years in gaol, and the father, 57-year old Ghulam Abbas, to life imprisonment (which, if one behaves well in gaol, is reduced to 16 years). The aunt and two uncles were given 16 years as well. Other members of the family and friends who had helped to track down Ghazala received sentences of between 8 and 16 years. Two Pakistanis who do not have the Danish nationality will be expelled from Denmark after serving their prison term.

Good on the Danish judge for holding all the criminals accountable in this instance.

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