German-Afghan gets life for 'honor-killing' of sister

13th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Man killed his sister as he believed she brought dishonor to their family by wearing Western-style clothes and makeup.

Hamburg -- A German-Afghan man who murdered his 16-year-old sister by stabbing her 23 times in a grisly "honor killing" was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Hamburg court on Friday.

In a crime that outraged Germany, the 24-year-old, identified as Ahmad-Sobair O., killed his sister Morsal in May 2008 as he believed she brought dishonor to their family by wearing Western-style clothes and makeup.

"You must take responsibility for the death of your sister, whom you should have protected as her older brother," said Judge Wolfgang Backen as he handed down the judgment.

Chaotic scenes erupted in court after the sentence was read out, with several members of the family shouting out from the public gallery.

Prosecutor Boris Bochnick said O. had carried out the crime "to restore the supposed honor of the family." “The world in which the accused lives is not like ours,” he added. “It is a world in which family honor is more important than the life of a person."

Bochnick said O. did not think Morsal behaved as a young Afghan girl should. "In his macho world, there was only one solution: she had to disappear," he said.

The defense argued that it was a "family tragedy" and sought in vain to prove diminished responsibility by showing the man was psychologically deranged.

O. had already been convicted for several other crimes, including theft and grievous bodily harm.

Speaking earlier in court, he said he was "sorry from the bottom of his heart" for his actions. "That was my sister and I loved her," he said, breaking down in tears.

Germany has been shocked by around 50 "honor killings" since 1996, mainly in the country's large Turkish community.

AFP/Expatica

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