Samia Shahid was allegedly murdered by her father and ex-husband in Pakistan in a so-called “honor killing” when they did not approve of her decision to marry another man and convert to his sect of Islam, and a new development has revealed that she was also raped before her death.
The 28-year-old British woman died in July in the northern Punjab region of Pakistan, the BBC noted. She had been visiting family in the village of Pandori when family members claimed that she suffered a heart attack and died.
But her second husband, Syed Mukhtar Kazim, believed that Samia was actually killed by family members who did not approve of her decision to marry him and convert to Shia Islam before the wedding. A postmortem examination was conducted, finding that Samia Shahid was actually strangled to death.
That led authorities to arrest Samia’s father and ex-husband for killing her.
“We have completed our investigation and concluded that her ex-husband Muhammad Shakeel and father Muhammad Shahid were involved in her killing,” said Abubakar Buksh, deputy inspector general of police in the region, via the Express Tribune.
In a new revelation this weekend, Buksh said that Samia Shahid was also raped by her ex-husband before she was murdered.
But the case was not limited to Shahid’s father and ex-husband. As the Express Tribune noted, authorities also arrested the police officer who led the murder investigation, with claims that he tried to conceal evidence related to her death.
The story of Shahid’s death became international news this week, with a number of British news outlets carrying stories about her murder and the ensuing investigation.
Police told the BBC that they plan to prosecute Samia’s father and ex-husband, and also were looking into whether other family members may have been involved as well. The woman’s uncle has already been arrested in connection to the murder.
Samia Shahid: Uncle arrested in 'honour killing' case https://t.co/w8DzXTMGEr
— #wecops (@WeCops) September 4, 2016
The Express Tribune carried more details.
“On Friday, police told the BBC they intended to proceed with a prosecution against both Ms. Shahid’s father and first husband for her murder.
“He added he was seeking to have her mother and sister returned to Pakistan to be questioned in relation to the investigation.
“Her former husband, Chaudhry Muhammad Shakeel, is accused of murder and is reported to have confessed to strangling her with her scarf, according to local police.”
The story of Shahid Samir’s murder has also drawn attention to the problem of so-called “honor killings” in Pakistan. These killing had long been tolerated, especially in more remote areas of the country, but Pakistan has come under increasing international pressure to crack down on those who killed family members for alleged violations of their honor.
The problem of “honor killings” came to light with the murder of Qandeel Baloch, a social media star and self-proclaimed feminist who was allegedly killed by her brother for bringing dishonor to the family through her sharing racy photos online.
Baloch’s murder helped usher through legislation meant to close loopholes that often allowed the perpetrators of “honor killings” to go free.
“There have been provisions in the (existing) law that the accused have utilized to escape punishment,” Pakistan’s Zahid Hamid told CNN. “This has given us a bad image in Pakistan and internationally.”
— Cairo Review (@CairoReview) August 29, 2016
Under previous law, family members could forgive the perpetrators of “honor killings,” allowing them to go free. But because these killings are often carried out be family members, it often allowed them to essentially commit murder within the law.
“We’ve been working to remove such loopholes so victims get justice,” Hamid said. “The right of retributive justice by the guardians of the victim means the accused are not even bought to trial at times.”
The father of Samia Shahid has maintained his innocence, saying his daughter died of natural causes.
[Image via Shahid family]