A Canadian court sent a strong message against so-called "honor killings" and related crimes last week, after sentencing three family members over threats they made to their daughter and sister for "violating traditional Pakistani values."
Judge Monique Metivier ordered Iqval Bibi, a 49-year-old Pakistani woman who speaks no English, to learn the language and Canadian values and to serve a five-month jail sentence. Bibi was found guilty of threats and intimidation after shrieking at her then-22 year-old daughter in 2011 for daring to date a white man she met while working at McDonald's.
Twenty-two year-old Khawar Saeed was also sentenced for "crimes rooted in gender discrimination," including sending threatening text messages to his sister.
“If dad doesn’t kill you, I will,” one text read.
Bibi's and Saeed's lawyers, Peter Beach and Jeffrey Langevin, claimed that the defendants were "victims" of a "dictatorial father," Mohammed Saeed, who was sentenced to ten months in jail for assault in a separate trial.
Metivier rejected the claim, however, and also blasted the values behind the threats.
“The cultural norms under which Mr. Saeed was operating are antithetical to Canadian values,” the judge said during sentencing Monday. “The facts here do not obviate the need for significant condemnation of these crimes.”
"Honor killings" - when a woman is murdered by family members who believe she has brought shame or dishonor upon her family - are a common problem in Pakistan, according to a recent report; at least one rights group estimates at least 10,000 cases in the Middle-Eastern country over the past four years.