A Pakistani family has been arrested for planning and carrying out the murder of a 19-year-old woman last month. The girl had married without her family’s consent
Police have arrested six members of a Pakistani family for hunting down and killing a 19-year-old girl, who had married against the family’s wishes.
Daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported that with two further arrests in the case, five men and one woman were now in remand for the suspected honour killing of Ghazala Abbas, who was shot to death in front of the central station in the western Zealand town of Slagelse on 23 September.
The day before, Abbas had married a 27-year-old Afghan-born man.
‘We arrested two men from the deceased’s family on Wednesday morning. The arrests were made in Copenhagen, and we can’t rule out the possibility that there will be more arrests. We continue a massive investigation on the family, amongst others,’ said Crime Inspector Flemming Madsen of the Slagelse Police.
Police said the investigation was hampered by the implicated persons’ reluctance to talk, but that the last four arrests had led to a breakthrough in the investigation.
Five of the people arrested are Ghazala’s close relatives, including her father and her older brother, who was the one that shot her to death and severely injured her husband in front of a large group of witnesses in broad daylight in Slagelse.
The couple was married the day before they were attacked, supposedly without the bride’s family’s consent.
Daily newspaper BT reported that a network of Pakistani taxi drivers and the woman arrested had helped the brother track his sister down.
The couple had fled from the family’s home in Copenhagen’s Amager district and gone into hiding in Jutland, there, they were married in secret at a city hall.
Ghazala, however, decided to trust the female relative with her secret, and called her to tell her the news. The woman betrayed her, BT reported, and told the family what she had done.
Pakistani taxi drivers told BT that Ghazala’s brother had asked them to keep an eye out for his sister, and ordered everyone in the family and its circle of friends to tell him if they heard from her.
The network tracked the newlyweds down a few hours after their wedding.
A source said to BT’s reporter that Ghazala had told her female relative that she had left her hiding place in Jutland and sought refuge with her friends in Slagelse.
‘The friend must have known that if she passed the information on to Ghazala’s family, she would help the honour killing being planned to take place,’ the source said, adding that she must also have feared retribution if the word ever got out that she had known of the couple’s whereabouts without telling the family.
Ghazala’s brother was so intent on finding and killing his sister in order to save the family’s honour that he left his wife and family only a few days after the birth of his second child to carry out the death sentence, BT reported.
Armed with the female relative’s information, a confirmation from Pakistani taxi drivers, and a gun, he arrived at the central station to find his sister standing right outside, waiting for a taxi. He shot her three times, then attacked her husband, beat him, and forced him down on the ground, where he shot him.
The husband survived by a hair’s breadth.
The newspaper said the liquidation of Ghazala Abbas demonstrated the enormous conspiracy and pressure immigrant women were faced with if they broke away from their families and tried to make independent choices in their lives.
Anne Mau, secretary of the National Association of Women’s Crisis Centres, which accept many immigrant women on the run from their families, said the Pakistani taxi network worked systematically to find women who had fled their families, and alerted their whereabouts to their relatives.
‘Taxi drivers are mobile, they now one another and the community, and they work systematically. The family uses a mobile telephone to send a picture around of the wanted woman. Then the hunting begins,’ Mau said. ‘This way many women have been discovered on the street, caught, and delivered back to their families.’