Shafia sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, along with Rona Amir Mohammed, 50, were honor murdered by their father Mohammad Shafia, Tooba Mohammad Yahya and brother Hamed, 20. Rona, who was incapable of having children, was the first wife of Mohammad Shafia in their Muslim polygamous household.
The victims were found murdered in June 2009 inside a Nissan Sentra that belonged to Mohammad Shafia and was submerged at the bottom of a a deep canal in Kingston, in eastern Ontario.
“God’s curse on them for generations. May the devil … sh*t on their graves … They betrayed Islam…..Muhammad Shafia
“They betrayed Islam. They betrayed our religion. They betrayed everything.” ….Mohammad Shafia
These girls begged for help. They went to a woman’s shelter and were returned home. They ran away from home and were returned despite the threat of Islamic honor violence.
The daughters went to police, teachers and child welfare authorities and told them they were abused by their father and brother. Fearing charges of racism or islamophobia, nothing was done. They were repeatedly returned to the violent household. It’s why we fought so hard for Ohio teen Rifqa Bary — we knew she, too, would have been returned to her violent home had we not protested and kept her case in the public eye the way we did. Muslim Brotherhood front group CAIR worked furiously to return convert out of Islam, Rifqa Bary, to the violent home, claiming any attempt to keep her safe was “islamophobia.”
Now the Muslim murderers who said “I would do it again 100 times” want a new trial, claiming they were victims of “cultural stereotyping” — in other words, the sharia exception. “By reinforcing pre-existing stereotypes of violent and primitive Muslims, it created the risk that the jury’s verdict would be tainted by cultural prejudice.”
Special rights for the superior class.
Arizona honor murderer Faleh Almaleki claimed the same thing in his daughter’s murder trial.
I ran an ad in Canada to help girls like these. They were taken down immediately when a handful of Muslims complained. I am suing the city of Edmonton to get those ads back up. I was deposed on Thursday by the city. It was an ugly and disgusting deposition. You would have thought I killed someone as opposed to trying to save lives.
The city wanted the names of the girls that we helped get to safety. I’ll go to prison before I ever release a name.
Zainab, stunningly beautiful …. the eldest daughter at 19, the one who ran away from home, to a women’s shelter, complaining of an abusive family, and then, fatefully, returned home two weeks later.
Sahar, perhaps even more striking at 17, 40 days after entering the world, was given by her mother to another woman — the first, barren wife in a polygamous marriage — told, here, raise her as your own.
Geeti was only 13, pleaded with anyone who would listen that she wanted to be placed in a foster family. The youngster scowls from a yearbook photo.
And then there was Rona Amir Mohammed, 53, a handsome woman and appendage to the marriage, introduced by the girls as their “aunt’’ but called Mother Rona. She systematically abused by Muhammad and Tooba.
All dead, their bodies discovered June 30, 2009, in a Nissan Sentra submerged in the Kingston Mills locks of the Rideau Canal, floating gently in their vehicular coffin, long hair wafting.
Shafia sisters Geeti, 13, Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Rona Amir, 52
“Shafia trio convicted in slayings of four family members seek new trial,” Montreal Gazette, October 13, 2015
A Montreal father, mother and son convicted nearly four years ago of murdering four other family members in an honour killing argue, in an appeal to Ontario’s top court, that they were victims of “cultural stereotyping” and “overwhelmingly prejudicial evidence” that should not have been admitted at their murder trial.
In a 110-page document filed with the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Mohammad Shafia, 62, his wife Tooba, 45, and their son Hamed, 24, claim they’re entitled to a new trial. The document is a concise outline of the evidence and legal argument that lawyers for the three will present at a hearing scheduled for Dec. 14.
The trio, who were tried together, complains that the trial judge, Justice Robert Maranger, made numerous errors of “misdirection and non-direction” that may have permitted jurors to make improper conclusions.
The three were each convicted in January 2012 of four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Shafia sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, Geeti, 13, and Rona Amir, 52, Shafia’s first wife in the polygamous 10-member Afghan family that came to Canada in 2007 and settled in Montreal. The three were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. They have been behind bars since the convictions.
The case attracted international attention and was among events that sparked the Conservative government’s crackdown on what it calls “barbaric cultural practices.”
The victims were found dead in June 2009 inside a Nissan Sentra that belonged to Mohammad Shafia and was submerged at the bottom of a three-metre deep canal in Kingston, in eastern Ontario.
The sensational three-month long trial heard that Shafia was enraged because he felt his teenage daughters had violated cultural rules requiring sexual modesty, they were disobedient and the two eldest girls had boyfriends. Rona wanted a divorce and supported the girls in their pursuit of western lifestyles. Rona wrote in a diary entered as evidence that she and Tooba clashed frequently; she was abused, humiliated and isolated.
Jurors were told that Shafia concocted a plan to murder the four in a bid to restore his tarnished honour, in an ancient cultural practice that places family honour above human life. This honour is rooted in the modesty and subservience of the female family members to the patriarch. Several witnesses testified during the trial that Shafia spoke openly, before the four died, of wanting to kill Zainab. Prosecutors told jurors that Shafia enlisted the help of his eldest son and second wife in the elaborate but flawed plot to conceal the killings as a car crash.
Fearing jurors wouldn’t be able to fathom that a father would conspire to murder nearly half his family; prosecutors recruited an expert on honour killing. Despite defence objections, University of Toronto professor Shahrzad Mojab was permitted to testify about the origins of the practice but she wasn’t allowed to offer an opinion about whether the deaths of the four Shafia family members were honour killings.
The lengthy document filed with the appeal court includes a pointed, 13-page attack on Mojab’s testimony.
“Dr. Mojab’s evidence was overwhelmingly prejudicial and should not have been admitted,” states the document. “Her evidence invited the jury to improperly find that the Appellants had a disposition to commit family homicide as a result of their cultural background and to reject their claim that they held a different set of cultural beliefs.”
The manner in which Mojab’s evidence was presented “created enormous prejudice” and invited jurors to decide contested factual issues by relying on “cultural stereotyping,” according to the document.
“By reinforcing pre-existing stereotypes of violent and primitive Muslims, it created the risk that the jury’s verdict would be tainted by cultural prejudice,” the document states. It was prepared jointly by three lawyers representing the convicted family members and argues that while some of Mojab’s evidence may have been admissible, the judge failed to “limit its scope and its potential for prejudice.”
The Toronto lawyers, Michael Dineen representing Shafia, Frank Addario for Tooba and Scott Hutchison for Hamed, declined to comment on the appeal.
Shafia and Tooba both testified at the trial and rejected claims that they were abusive, conspired to kill their family members or that they subscribed to the notion of family honour above all. Tooba repudiated parts of a statement she made to a police interrogator after her arrest, including the admission that she was at the canal when the car went into the water on June 30, 2009. During Tooba’s trial testimony, she said parts of her police statement “were all lies” designed to convince the interrogator to leave her alone and to protect her son Hamed from torture she feared he’d face from police.
Hamed did not testify so prosecutors were not able to cross-examine him on two starkly different accounts he gave of the night his family members died.
During hours of police interviews, Hamed said he had no idea how the four ended up dead. In a conversation with a man who was paid by Shafia to investigate after the three were arrested, Hamed said Zainab took the family’s Nissan Sentra for a late night joyride — with her sisters and Rona as passengers — after the family stopped in Kingston on the way home to Montreal from a vacation in Niagara Falls.
Hamed said he drove another Shafia family vehicle and followed the four. Near the canal, he claimed that he rear ended the Sentra in a small fender bender and then stood by after they accidentally drove into the canal and drowned. He didn’t call 9-1-1 or jump in the water and claimed that he didn’t tell his parents what happened because he was afraid his father would be angry with him.
Though never proved conclusively, prosecutors theorized that the killers incapacitated the victims, perhaps by drowning them elsewhere, placed the bodies inside the Sentra and pushed it over a stone ledge into the canal with the other family vehicle. Forensic tests concluded all of the victims drowned but the time and place they died could not be established.