Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

Teenager wants justice for mother


Family's hope for justice

The daughter of a London woman who died in a so-called "honour killing" in India has demanded that her mother's attackers are brought to justice.

Surjeet Athwal died in 1998 and last year her husband and mother-in-law were convicted of arranging her murder.

The prosecution claimed Mrs Athwal was killed because she sought a divorce.

But those who carried out the attack have never been convicted and her daughter Pavanpreet, 17, called for them "to be put behind bars".

Her family feel that police in India have "failed" to properly look into the case.

'Anger and bitterness'

They have employed a lawyer who will try to persuade the Panjaab High Court to order the reopening of the police investigation.

And they are trying to raise 15,000 to cover the legal bills.

Mrs Athwal disappeared after attending a family wedding in Punjab with her mother-in-law, Bachan.

Bachan Athwal
Bachan Athwal was told to serve at least 20 years for arranging the killing
Bachan and her son Sukhdave, both from Hayes in west London, were found guilty of murder in an English court in July 2007.

She was ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years in prison while he was jailed for at least 27 years.

Bachan had vowed a divorce would only occur "over my dead body" and boasted she had ordered a relative to strangle Mrs Athwal and throw her into a river.

Pavanpreet Athwal, who was seven when her mother died, said she had learned what had happened from a relative.

"I went to stay with my auntie, who was the main witness for the case in England, and she told me her side of the story, which I'd had no idea of," she told BBC London.

Surjit Athwal
Surjit Athwal was killed after having an affair, the prosecution claimed
She called for "complete justice" for her mother and said she felt "lots of anger and bitterness" towards those behind the attack.

Asked if she would ever forgive her father and grandmother for arranging the murder, she replied: "I think I will, but it will take time."

And she said she hoped the case would act as a "catalyst" for other honour killings and ensure justice for more victims.

The teenager organised a memorial service at Heathrow airport, where her mother worked, on Sunday.

This marked the 10th anniversary of the murder.

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