Italy court sentences Pakistani parents for murder of teenage daughter

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An Italian court sentenced two parents to lifetime imprisonment on Tuesday for killing their teenage daughter after she refused to travel to Pakistan for an arranged marriage.

The so-called honor killing of 18-year-old Saman Abbas, who went missing in April 2021, shocked Italy.

Her father, Shabbar Abbas, was convicted by the court in the northern city of Reggio Emilia along with the victim’s mother, who remains at large. The girl’s uncle was sentenced to 14 years in prison while two cousins were acquitted.

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The verdict was at a court of first instance and can be appealed.

The father had wept and protested his innocence in testimony to the court on Tuesday.

“This trial is not complete. I too want to know who killed my daughter,” he told the court, according to Italian media reports.

Shabbar Abbas had been extradited to Italy in August to face trial after he was arrested in his village in eastern Pakistan on suspicion of murder. His wife is believed to be in hiding in Pakistan.

The remains of Saman Abbas were found near her family home in the town of Novellara in November 2022, some 18 months after she went missing. She was eventually identified by her dental records.

Saman Abbas, pictured wearing red lipstick and a red headband, has become one of the symbols of public concern in Italy over violence against women by family members or partners.

The killing last month of a university student and the arrest of her ex-boyfriend for the crime prompted a wave of demonstrations in towns and cities across Italy.

Prosecutors said the family of Saman Abbas was angered when they found out she had a boyfriend in Italy.

They alleged that she was killed when she returned to the family home to collect some documents after living nearby for a while under the care of social services.

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