Pakistani family stand trial for 'honour killing'
A Pakistani family of four go on trial Thursday in connection with the "honour killing" of a 20-year-old woman who defied them by living with a Belgian and refusing an arranged marriage.
Sadia Sheikh, a Belgian law student of Pakistani origin, was shot dead by three bullets fired by her older brother Mudusar on October 22, 2007, when visiting her family who had pledged to patch up their quarrel.
Her parents and sister are accused of aiding and abetting the killing.
She had left the family home to study after her shopkeeper parents tried to arrange a marriage with a cousin living in Pakistan she had never met.
Before moving in with a Belgian man her age named Jean, she spent some time in a centre for victims of domestic violence where she drew up a will as she felt threatened.
She nonetheless agreed to visit the family in hopes of making peace.
Her parents and sister have denied involvement in the murder, saying Mudusar, now aged 27, killed his sister in a fit of anger.
But her father Tarik Mahmood Sheikh, mother Zahida Parveen Sariya and sister Sariya will be in the dock with Mudusar on Thursday in a jury trial in the town of Mons, and will also face charges of "attempting to arrange a marriage."
The four face sentences of life imprisonment if found guilty by the jury in hearings expected to last three to four weeks.
© 2011 AFP