A Pakistani-German couple has been convicted of killing their daughter on religious grounds after she slept with her boyfriend. The teenager was strangled and dumped in a nearby forest.
A German couple was sentenced to life in prison in the city of Darmstadt on Tuesday after being found guilty of murdering their teenage daughter. The judge rejected the plea of the couple, who are originally from Pakistan, to be charged with manslaughter over the "honor" killing.
The 19-year-old-victim cannot be named for legal reasons in Germany. According to German media reports, she was strangled by her 52-year-old father last January after he discovered she had been sexually active with her boyfriend.
Her father had admitted to the killing, while her 41-year-old mother is said to have watched on and done nothing.
Lawyers for the defense argued that despite being in Germany for twenty-eight years, the husband was "not properly socialized" in German culture and his wife "had nothing to do with the normal world." The claim was that they retained the norms of their strict religious upbringing in Pakistan, where women can be punished for having a sexual relationship before marriage.
Mother denies wrongdoing
Sonja Jordans, who followed the trial for DW news, reported that the victim's mother told the court "I am not a murderer" and claimed her husband forced her to hide their daughter's body after he had killed her.
Prosecutors, were unmoved, however, according to Jordans. "She played the role of perpetrator just as much as her husband," said state attorney Barbara Sieger, who argued that the couple had hatched the "coldblooded" plan together. This included testing how well the view of a surveillance camera in their apartment building could be obscured by an umbrella in preparation for the murder. In the end, Sieger said, the husband simply covered the camera with tape.
Earlier in the trial, the victim's boyfriend testified that despite the woman's protestations of innocence, she had "inflicted much suffering" on her daughter over the course of her life.
Sieger went on to describe the excruciating last minutes of the victim's life, which began when her father entered her bedroom as she slept and went on for several minutes as she fought for survival. Then, said Sieger, "there where the family often had their barbecues, they threw their child under a mound like a sack of garbage."