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6 January 2009
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Honour killings in the UK

Honour killings in the UK

In the UK, murders have sometimes taken place after a family has reacted violently to their son or daughter taking on the trappings of western culture. Killings are often disguised as suicide, fire or an accident.

Police believe there may be as many as 12 honour killings in the UK every year. They will typically occur within Asian and Middle Eastern families when a person is believed to have 'dishonoured' their loved ones.

In 2003 the Metropolitan Police set up a strategic task force to tackle the issue. A specialist unit was given the task of researching honour crimes and 100 murder files spanning the last decade were re-opened in an effort to find common links.

The move followed the killing of a teenage girl in a Kurdish family in London. In 2002, Heshu Yones, 16, was stabbed to death by her father, Abdullah, because he disapproved of her Western dress and Christian boyfriend.

Mr Yones then cut his own throat and attempted suicide by jumping from a third floor balcony. At his murder trial in 2003 he begged the judge to sentence him to death. Yones, a political refugee, who had fled Saddam Hussein's regime 10 years previously, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his daughter.

Other examples

Mustaq Ahmed, 40, a Muslim businessman murdered his daughter's boyfriend because he disapproved of their relationship. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering 22-year-old Albanian Rexhap Hasani in 2003.

Rukhsana Naz, 19, wanted to divorce her husband to marry her boyfriend by whom she was pregnant. She refused to have an abortion and was strangled by her brother with a piece of plastic flex while her mother, Shakeela, held her down. The family put Rukhsana's body in the car and drove 100 miles to dump it. Shakeela Naz and her son Shazad Ali were sentenced to life imprisonment for the killing in 1999.

Nuziat Khan, a mother of three, was seeking a divorce from her abusive husband. He strangled her to death in front of their three-year-old daughter in 2001. He remains on Scotland Yard's most wanted list and is believed to have fled to Pakistan.

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