Posted on June 13, 2007

Britain’s Hidden ‘Honour’ Crimes

Metro (London), June 11, 2007

Hundreds of ‘honour’ crimes take place in Britain and are on the increase, a leading Human Rights barrister has warned.

Usha Sood, who specialises in Asian family cases, said they were becoming more common in the UK.

The alarm call comes as the victim of Britain’s latet ‘honour killing’ had been dismissed by police as a fantasist as her father and uncle were convicted of murder.

Banaz Mahmod, 20, told officers her life was in danger four times and even gave them a list of three men she thought would murder her because she had fallen in love with someone her family disapproved of.

One of the men later admitted his part in the crime, while the other two have fled the country.

Weeks after she sent the list, Banaz’s father, Mahmod Mahmod, lured her to her grandmother’s house on New Year’s Eve and made her drink alcohol.

Her boyfriend has urged anyone in a similar situation to do something before it is ‘too late’.

Rahmat Sulemani, who has been in hiding since the murder, said the only thing he has lived for since her death was the killers being brought to justice.

He said he hoped publicity around the case would help end honour killings, adding: ‘I know it is too late for me and Banaz. If there’s anyone out there in the same situation, do something about it before it’s too late.

‘I am just heartbroken and I am falling apart day after day.’

Diana Nammi, of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, also told the BBC Five Live that there “lot of cases” of honour killings in the UK.

“There are lots of suicide cases where woman have been forced to commit suicide,” she added.

Banaz feared for her life when her father came towards her menacingly, wearing gloves, and she jumped through a window.

Her boyfriend Rahmat Sulemani filmed her on a hospital trolley saying she was ‘really scared’.

But when she told a police officer, PC Angela Cornes, about what happened, her account was dismissed as fantasy.

Ms Cornes even wanted to have her charged with criminal damage for breaking the window.

Now a number of officers, including Ms Cornes, face an internal disciplinary investigation over the case.

Mr Sulemani said yesterday: ‘If somebody’s going to go to the police and say they fear for their lives, I just hope that they are going to do something before it’s too late.’

Banaz last went to police in January last year following a kidnap attempt on her boyfriend but declined an offer of a safe house.

She was murdered the next day.