Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 18:22 UK

Woman 'buried in cousin's garden'

Banaz Mahmod
Ms Mahmod was killed as after her affair with a Kurd was discovered

The cousin of a woman murdered in a so-called "honour-killing" case allowed her body to be buried in his garden, the Old Bailey has heard.

Banaz Mahmod, 20, an Iraqi Kurd from south London, was killed and buried in a suitcase in Birmingham in April 2006.

Her father Mahmod Mahmod and uncle Ari Mahmod have been jailed for life.

Dashti Babaker, 21, and his friend Amir Abbas, 31, deny perverting the course of justice and "preventing the lawful and decent burial of a corpse".

'Ultimate penalty'

Mr Babaker, of Redcar Street, Camberwell, south-east London, and Mr Abbas, of no fixed address, were living at the house in Alexandra Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, where Ms Mahmod's body was found buried 5ft deep in the back garden, the court heard.

Victor Temple, QC, for the prosecution, said family and community ties presented an "imperative need to uphold that which they perceive as honour".

"Both these defendants chose to align themselves with and actively assist those who had engineered the murder of Banaz.

"Such actions would also allow them to ingratiate themselves with both their elders and their contemporaries, knowing that Banaz had been murdered.

Mahmod Mahmod (left) and Ari Mahmod
Ms Mahmod's uncle and father are serving life terms for her murder

"They were not only privy to the fact that the suitcase that contained her body was to be buried at the address at which they were resident but they were also complicit in preventing her proper burial," he said.

Ms Mahmod, of Mitcham, was raped, tortured and strangled to death when her family discovered her affair with fellow Kurd, Rahmat Sulemani.

Her body was found in April 2006 after she went missing in January.

Mr Temple said Banaz Mahmod belonged to a "tight-knit" Kurdish community where traditions of honour played a central part.

In some circumstances family members, especially women, would be subject to retribution if they were seen to have brought shame on the rest of the group, he told the court.

'In it together'

"The retribution often encompasses the ultimate penalty, that of death. So it was in the case of Banaz Mahmod," Mr Temple said.

He added that those behind her murder visited the property several times and Mr Babaker and Mr Abbas were aware of this and "in it together".

Mr Temple said: "Both the defendants knew that her body was buried in that garden. In that knowledge they did nothing to alert anybody of that fact."

The court heard Mohamad Hama admitted the murder and is serving a life sentence while two other men, Mohammed Ali and Omar Hussein, are still wanted over the murder.

The trial continues.




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