In the Shafia family murder trial, the jury has reached a verdict. On trial for the brutal murder of three daughters, as well as the first wife of Mohammed Shafia, in a bigamous marriage, the three, Mohammed, Tooba Yahya, and Hamed all pleaded not guilty.
Despite their denials of guilt and despite the clever manoeuvring of the defense counsel, many people found it difficult to believe that they had nothing to do with the deaths, given the evidence submitted, which indicated systematic abuse of the daughters who apparently were "shaming" the Afghani Canadian family with their overly Western behaviour, and their desire to have boyfriends, like the rest of Canadian youth. This behaviour had enraged their father to the point where he was claiming on the telephone (given in evidence) that no matter how many times they might return to life, he would kill them again. Despite all this evidence against them, they constantly maintained that they were not guilty of any crime, and that the deaths must have been due to some horrible accident, which they blamed on the eldest daughter "stealing" the family car to go for a drive....although why she would go for such a drive with her two sisters, and the first wife, so late at night, was debatable at best.
The bodies of the three sisters, Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti Shafia, 13, and Mohammed's childless first wife, Rona Mohammed Amir, were discovered at the bottom of the Rideau Canal, in the family Nissan, on June 30, 2009.
Sahar Shafia, left, Geeti, top, and Zainab
According to CBC News, both on the radio, and on the web,today, the jury in the trial determined a verdict in this case, some 15 hours after they were charged with finding a verdict by the Judge in the case,Justice Robert Maranger. As the jury came into the room, the Shafias were nervously looking around, the father looking several times over his shoulders, possibly looking for his other children, who had been attending the trial too. Then they were told to stand up, and the jury was asked if they had reached a verdict. They had. The verdict was "Guilty as charged on all four charges". The Shafias slumped in dejection at this verdict, the father comforting his son, Hamed, who was weeping, with a fatherly hand on his shoulder. When asked if they had anything to say about this verdict. They all once again insisted that they were not guilty, that they had not killed their family members, and that the verdict was unjust.
This is not likely end of the whole affair, as the family will most certainly appeal the verdict, the end result of which will unfold in the fulness of time.
Update: All three members of the Shafia family on trial, after being found guilty as charged on all four charges of first degree murder, were sentenced to an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
This sentence will most definitely send a message to those who come to Canada believing that they can bring all their criminal behavioural baggage with them. This will tell such backwards, murderous, "honour killers" that their crimes will be found out, and they will face the full force and majesty of Her Majesty's Canadian Criminal Justice system.
There is a clear message to all immigrants from this: leave antiquated murderous theologies and social customs at home. They are not welcome in Canada, and will be punished, as the verdicts and sentences resulting from this trial have shown the world.
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