Father Gets Life In Jail For Danish Honor Killing

Father gets life in jail for Danish honor killing
Police say family decided to kill daughter because of her marriage choice

Updated: 10:34 a.m. PT June 28, 2006

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – A Danish court on Wednesday sentenced a father of Pakistani origin to life in prison for the honor killing of his 18-year-old daughter, while the brother who shot her, and two uncles each received 16 years in prison.

Ghazala Khan was gunned down by her brother alongside her newly wedded Afghan husband in broad daylight in front of a provincial railway station in eastern Denmark. Her husband, Emal, survived, but now lives under police protection.

In the sentencing, the court considered that the murder of Ghazala and the attempted murder of Emal were carefully planned and committed by several people in collusion, the court said in its verdict.

The murder has sparked debate about the integration of a conservative Muslim community at odds with Danish society, months after the publishing of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a Danish newspaper led to worldwide protests by Muslims.

Police say family members decided at a meeting to kill Ghazala because they did not approve of her marriage to her long-term boyfriend.

Unusual case
The case is unusual since it is the first time that a group of people, and not just the perpetrator, have been sentenced for an honor killing in western Europe, experts said.

The court said that when sentencing the father it had weighed that he had commanded the killing of his daughter and later repeatedly sought to kill his son-in-law at the hospital.

On Tuesday, the court convicted nine people for the murder. Other family members and relatives were handed sentences of between eight and 16 years. The nine were all involved in a three-week hunt for the couple or had accompanied the brother to the scene of the crime, police said.

Some of those convicted face expulsion from Denmark after serving their sentences.