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Saturday, 26 January, 2002, 08:36 GMT
Young Kurd's murder shocks Sweden
Fadime Sahendal, who was killed at her sister's flat
Swedish TV highlighted Fadime Sahendal's case in 1998
The murder of a 26-year-old Kurdish woman in Sweden has shocked the nation and triggered calls for urgent action to protect young immigrants who fall out with their families.

The murder, was allegedly committed by her father, Rahmi Sahendal, as an "honour killing" because of her relationship with a Swedish man.

He was arrested soon after the shooting in the city of Uppsala, north of Stockholm, and has been charged with her murder.

He is reported to have wanted her to return to Turkey and marry a Kurdish man in an arranged marriage, which Fadime refused to do.


"For my family the purpose of my life was that I would marry a Kurdish man. Suddenly I was transformed from a good Kurdish girl into a wasteful whore."

Fadime Sahendal

Fadime became a symbol for the vulnerability of immigrant women after appearing on television to campaign against "honour killings" and her death has dominated the Swedish media.

Flags have been flying at half-mast in Uppsala and activists have held memorial services to remember Fadime in several towns across Sweden.

Immigrants' groups have called on the government to pass urgent legislation to protect the rights of immigrant women.

Since her death, the Swedish Government has accepted that parts of its integration policy have failed and has promised to change the law so that young immigrant women under 18 will now require permission to get married.

Harassment

Fadime's killing followed years of threats and harassment by her father and brother.

In a highly publicised trial in 1998, her father was given a suspended sentence and a fine for threatening to kill her, while her 17 year-old brother was sentenced to probation for one year.

Her brother was later sentenced to five months in prison for continuing to abuse Fadime.

Fadime's Swedish boyfriend, Patrik, died in a car crash shortly after that trial. The police have now said they will re-examine the circumstances of the accident.

Campaigning

In November last year, Fadime addressed the Swedish parliament on the problems facing immigrant women.

Fadime was just 26 when she was killed
Fadime's murder has sparked an outpouring of anger
"I don't feel bitterness, but I think that it's important to learn from what happened to me", she said.

"I think that it's important not to shut your eyes to immigrant girls."

Speaking to a women's group's conference last autumn, she said: "I have had to pay a high price. My friends have become my new family. I do not regret leaving my family, but I feel sad that I was forced to do so. My family lost both its honour and a daughter.

"For my family the purpose of my life was that I would marry a Kurdish man. Suddenly I was transformed from a good Kurdish girl into a wasteful whore."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

03 Nov 01 | Middle East
Iraqi Kurds' story of expulsion
23 Jan 02 | Middle East
Jordanian women fight 'honour killings'
31 Aug 01 | Middle East
Iraqi Kurds face uncertain future
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