A Chester Crown Court jury found Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed guilty of murdering their 17-year-old daughter in 2003. The Ahmeds will each serve a minimum of 25 years, for what many are calling an “honor killing”.
“There is only one sentence that I can impose upon you and that is a sentence of imprisonment for life,” Justice Roderick Evans said.
The victim’s teacher reported her as missing in September of 2003, and workmen found her body in the River Kent the following February. Although two post-mortem examinations did not shed light on the cause of death, the court recorded a verdict of ‘unlawful killing’ in 2008 at her inquest. The victim’s younger sister came forward in 2010 and testified that she witnessed her parents suffocate her older sister with a plastic bag.
According to the prosecution, the Ahmeds’ motive was to protect the family’s "honor" because they thought their daughter brought shame on the family. There are reports of the victim being in conflict with her parents over clothing and their desire to arrange her marriage, and a history of physical abuse.
“Your concern about being shamed in your community was greater than the love of your child,” Justice Evans said at the sentencing. “A desire that she understood and appreciated the cultural heritage from which she came is perfectly understandable, but an expectation that she live in a sealed cultural environment separate from the culture of the country in which she lived was unrealistic, destructive and cruel.”