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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 June 2007, 08:45 GMT 09:45 UK
'Honour' crimes 'on rise in UK'
Mobile phone footage recorded by Banaz Mahmod
Banaz Mahmod spoke of her fear in a video recording

Human rights campaigners have warned the "honour killing" of a 20-year-old woman is not an unusual case in the UK.

Banaz Mahmod was killed after falling in love with a man her family did not want her to marry.

Her father Mahmod Mahmod, 52, and uncle Ari Mahmod, 50, from Mitcham, London, were convicted of murder on Monday.

Human rights barrister Usha Sood said so-called "honour" crimes were becoming more common and were "being perpetrated in the hundreds every year."

Miss Mahmod's father and uncle ordered the murder because they believed she had shamed the family, the three-month trial at the Old Bailey heard.

A third defendant, Darbad Mares-Rasull, was cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Ari Mahmod was also found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Mohamad Hama, 30, of West Norwood, south London, an associate of Ari, had already pleaded guilty to the murder.

The police described Miss Mahmod's murder as an "honour killing."

Ms Sood, who specialises in Asian family cases, told BBC Radio Five Live "honour crimes of some sort" whether or not they resulted in death, were becoming more common in the UK.

"But certainly honour crimes are being perpetrated in the hundreds every year," she said.

Miss Mahmod had made several attempts to warn police her life was in danger, even naming those she thought would kill her.

In mobile phone footage recorded following an earlier attempt on her life by her father in December 2005, she said she was "really scared".

However her statement following the assault was allegedly not taken seriously enough by investigating officers.

'Suicide cases'

Diana Nammi, of the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation, also told the BBC she believed there were "lot of cases" of honour killings.

"There are lots of suicide cases where woman have been forced to commit suicide," she added.

Mahmod Mahmod (left) and Ari Mahmod
Banaz's boyfriend was threatened by her family

She said police in the UK must treat the issue "seriously and sensitively".

"Banaz repeatedly went to police and she seek help but police failed to help her and she was killed," she said.

"And they could help her and they could save her, actually. And there is not any unit to deal with honour killing cases."

Several officers are being investigated as part of an internal review of the case by Scotland Yard's Directorate of Professional Standards.

Miss Mahmod fled but later went back to her family and tried to carry on her relationship with boyfriend Rahmat Sulemani in secret.

Mr Sulemani broke down in tears when giving testimony, saying they had been threatened with death if they carried on seeing each other.

He later said: "My life went away when Banaz died.

"The only thing which was keeping me going was the moment to see justice being done for Banaz."

'Ultimate betrayal'

Miss Mahmod was urged to stay at a safe house but told officers she believed she would be safe at home because her mother was there.

She disappeared on 24 January and her decomposed body was discovered in Handsworth, Birmingham, three months later.

Her sister Bekhal, 22, who is in hiding from the family, condemned her relatives for taking her relative's life.

She said: "To do this to their own flesh and blood was unforgivable. Forgiveness isn't even a question. They don't deserve to be on this earth."

After the verdict, Detective Inspector Caroline Goode, said: "Clearly there is no honour in killing... I think it is the ultimate betrayal for a parent to kill a child."




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