Pakistan court postpones hearing in UK woman's murder case

AP News
Posted: Sep 08, 2016 4:18 AM
Pakistan court postpones hearing in UK woman's murder case

JHELUM, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani court on Thursday postponed the hearing of the ex-husband and the father of a British woman who was murdered while on a family visit to Pakistan, a defense lawyer said.

The two accused were to appear before the court in the city of Jhelum but the judge postponed the hearing until Saturday, said the lawyer, Mohammad Arif.

The case of 28-year-old Samia Shahid is suspected to be the latest reported incident of so-called "honor killings" in Pakistan, where nearly 1,000 women are murdered every year for violating conservative norms on love, marriage and public behavior.

The police have said the killing was a "premeditated, cold-blooded murder" and a government-ordered police inquiry has recommended that her ex-husband and her father be tried on charges of rape and murder. Shahid was buried in July in eastern Pakistan after her family declared she had died of a heart attack.

The police investigation concluded that she was strangled to death, and that her father, Muhammad Shahid, had stood guard while her ex-husband, Muhammad Shakeel, raped her. After that, they killed her together, the police say. The investigation has found that a forensic and DNA test was a perfect match, confirming the rape.

Arif, the defense lawyer, denied the accusations against his clients. Both suspects were arrested last month but have not been formally charged yet.

Shahid married her first husband in February 2012 but stayed only briefly in Pakistan before returning to England where she obtained a divorce two years later.

After that, she married her second husband Mukhtar Kazim and moved with him to Dubai. Shahid's family, which had settled in Bradford, England, never accepted her second marriage.

Shahid's mother and younger sister, both also British nationals, are wanted by Pakistani police on accusation that they abetted in her murder. The inquiry has found they got her to agree to come for a week-long visit to Pakistan earlier this summer, claiming her father was gravely ill.

The mother and the sister left Pakistan shortly before the arrests and the Pakistani police are now seeking their extradition from the U.K.