Stabbed to death as her family watched... for honour

By Terri Judd 
Published: 15 July 2006

Samaira Nazir was the brightest of her family.
Articulate and well-educated, she graduated from
university before taking a directorship in their
recruitment business. 

Salman Mohammed's life had been less smooth. Desperate
to flee Afghanistan, he was smuggled into Britain in
the back of a lorry and made a living selling phone
cards from a market stall.

But when the pair met they fell in love, and for years
conducted a secret affair before finally defying her
family and announcing their wedding plans. It proved a
fatal move and led to Samaira's death in a so-called
"honour" killing.

It was Samaira's brother, Azhar Nazir, 30, who
introduced them. And five years later it was Nazir who
would wrench them apart, savagely murdering his sister
when he learnt of her "unsuitable" engagement.

Yesterday Nazir, along with a 17-year-old cousin,
Imran Mohammed, real name Kashif Rana, were jailed for
life for the "barbaric" murder of the 25-year-old

Ordering that Nazir serve at least 20 years and
Mohammed 10, Judge Christopher Moss described how
Samaira fought desperately for life, adding: "She
suffered a brutal, gruesome and prolonged death in her
own home."

To Nazir, he continued: "You were Samaira's judge and
jury. You may not have been alone in that respect. You
claimed you loved your sister dearly when you
orchestrated her murder."

The Old Bailey trial heard how the pair repeatedly
knifed the young woman as in a "prolonged and frenzied
attack". At one point her bloody arm emerged through
the front door before she was dragged back by her

Nazir's two daughters, aged two and four, were
spattered with blood as they stood just feet away -
forced to watch, police fear, the killing of a
rebellious sister. Her mother stood near by.

The case, which ended yesterday, will reignite the
debate over so-called honour killings in Britain. Over
the past few years, Scotland Yard has set up a
dedicated unit to look into 109 suspicious deaths.
Nine have been confirmed in this category and an equal
number are seen as most probably honour-related.

Mr Mohammed told the jury how he met Nazir after
approaching him at the successful grocery store he ran
with his father in Southall. H e told jurors that he
and Samaira "were as boyfriend and girlfriend for
about five or six years. But we couldn't tell her
family because Samaira said her father was a very
strict man who would not allow any female in his
family to marry outside of his caste or tribe."

Mr Mohammed tried to ingratiate himself by arranging
for a cousin, who would eventually murder his
girlfriend, to be brought to Britain. Meanwhile the
pair kept their relationship secret. Twice the young
woman was taken to Pakistan to find a suitor for an
arranged marriage and twice she refused. In March
2005, she told her family she had become engaged and
they reacted furiously, her father insisting the
Afghan was only after money. At one point he
approached Mr Mohammed on his stall and threatened him
with a knife. When the young man called Samaira's
brother to try and reason with him, he threatened to
kill both of them.

On 23 April 2005, Samaira and Mr Mohammed tried to see
her mother, Irshad Begum, at a relative's house, but
she refused. Instead the young woman was summoned to
the family home in Southall, west London, where her
61-year-old father, also called Azhar, brother and
cousin attacked her. She was held down while her
throat was cut in three places and she was stabbed 18

As she screamed for help a neighbour banged on the
door, but the father emerged claiming that his
daughter was having a fit. Another neighbour spotted
Samaira's bloodsoaked arm emerging from the front door
before she was dragged back inside.

As they heard her begging for help, her last words
were for Mrs Begum: "You are not my mother any more."
Police found a trail of blood across the house and
Samaira's body slumped in the hallway.

As he was led away, Nazir said: "There had been a
problem with my sister. She does not wish to have an
arranged marriage. We only allow marriage within the

Nazir and Mohammed both denied murder, the former
claiming he was in another room and the latter that he
believed Samaira was a victim of black magic. Both
were convicted last month.

Samaira's father fled to Pakistan after being charged.
His family claim he has died, though police are still
trying to track him down. Charges against her mother
were later dropped.

After yesterday's sentencing, Detective Inspector John
Reid said: 'There is no honour in taking somebody's
life. Honour is about power, and power is about money
and that is the motive behind this crime."

Murdered to protect the good name of the family 

* Heshu Yones, 16, was stabbed 11 times by her Kurdish
father, Abdalla, 48, on 12 October 2002, when he
discovered she was seeing a Lebanese Christian boy. He
broke down the door of the bathroom where she had
barricaded herself, slit her throat and left her to
bleed to death.

* Faqir Mohammed stabbed his 24-year-old daughter,
Shahida Parveen, 20 times in the head and stomach
after finding her fully clothed in her bedroom with
her secret boyfriend in June 2001. He told police:
"According to the law it was not right, but according
to religion it was right."

* Rukhsana Naz was seven months' pregnant when her
mother held her down as her brother Shazad Ali, 22,
strangled her with a plastic flex in 1998. The
19-year-old, who had been married four years earlier
to a man who remained in Pakistan, had had an affair. 

'You're not my mother any more,' shouted Samaira. Then
her family killed her 

Man gets 20 years after murdering sister who chose
husband from wrong caste 

Riazat Butt
Saturday July 15, 2006
The Guardian,,1821073,00.html

Samaira Nazir knew well that her parents would
disapprove. She wanted to marry her Afghan boyfriend,
rather than someone from the family circle, and she
was prepared to fight for him too.
So were they. Yesterday, Ms Nazir's brother was jailed
for at least 20 years for her murder and her cousin,
who is 17, will serve 10 years for his role in her
death last April.

The "honour killing", which took place at home in
front of her parents, was carried out with four
knives, as she was pinned down, and left her with 18
stab wounds and three separate cuts to her throat. The
Old Bailey heard the method was "barbaric".

Jurors were told the family disapproved of Ms Nazir's
boyfriend, Salman Mohammed, because of his caste and
they were so determined to split the pair up that when
the couple announced their engagement, Ms Nazir's
father, Azhar, lunged at Mr Mohammed with a knife and
threatened to kill him.
Her brother Azhar Nazir, a 30-year-old greengrocer,
threatened to "get" the couple if they married, even
if they were abroad. He was, the court heard, so
incensed that his sister had turned down the suitors
waiting for her in Pakistan in favour of the Afghan
that he ordered the 25-year-old to come to the family
home in Southall, Middlesex.

Ready to confront her were her parents, her brother
and the 17-year-old cousin, Imran Mohammed. Also
present were her brother's daughters aged two and

Inside the house, faced with angry relatives, Ms Nazir
had a heated argument with them about her future, the
court heard. The men attacked her, holding on to her
to stop her escaping, and acted together to avenge the
family honour.

Her screams alerted a neighbour, who came to the house
and banged on the door, but her father appeared and
sent the neighbour away, claiming his daughter was
having a fit.

Ms Nazir, jurors were told, was heard to shout at her
mother, Irshad Begum: "You are not my mother any

Ms Nazir succeeded in fleeing from her captors, her
bloodstained arm emerging briefly from the door, but
the men grabbed her by the hair and dragged her back
into the house.

Her family held her down, tied a silk scarf round her
neck, and Imran Mohammed slashed her neck three times.

Police who arrived at the house found Ms Nazir slumped
in the hallway covered in blood. They also saw the two
cousins were splattered with blood and feared they had
been forced to watch Ms Nazir's murder as a warning as
to what might happen should they fall in love with the
wrong man.

Azhar Nazir told officers there had been a problem
with his sister. He said: "She does not wish to have
an arranged marriage. We only allow marriage within
the family. My sister wanted to run away from the
house and was stopped."

He tried to blame his cousin, a youth with low
intellect, for the crime.

Ms Nazir's father, a businessman, was also arrested
and bailed for the killing but he fled to Pakistan and
his family claimed he died there. Charges against the
mother were dropped.

Mr Mohammed and Ms Nazir, who ran a recruitment agency
in the Southall area, had kept their affair secret,
even staying apart for a year out of respect for the
family. They met in 2000, following his illegal entry
into the UK, after he found his way to Nazir's
greengrocer's shop looking for advice on employment
and accommodation. He became known to the family and
Mr Mohammed fell in love with Ms Nazir.

Giving evidence during the trial he said: "We were as
boyfriend and girlfriend for about five or six years.
But we couldn't tell her family because Samaira said
her father was a very strict man who would not allow
any female in his family to marry outside of his caste
or tribe.

"We had discussed marriage. Samaira told me she wanted
to tell her family herself. Her father was very upset
with her decision and said I was only after their

Judge Christopher Moss said: "Samaira Nazir was an
accomplished young woman who was murdered by members
of her family because she insisted on marrying someone
deemed unsuitable. She suffered a brutal, gruesome and
horrific death."

The judge told Nazir: "You were her judge and jury,
although you may not have been alone. You claimed to
have loved your sister, but were guilty of
orchestrating her murder."

Imran Mohammed, he said, had "carried out the sentence
of death" passed on the young woman.

Speaking after the trial, Nazir Afzal, of the Crown
Prosecution Service, said: "Samaira was murdered
because she loved the wrong person, in her family's
eyes. It was an 'honour killing' to protect the
perceived status of the family, to mark their
disapproval. We hope the investigation and prosecution
will deter others who may wish to harm family members
because of practices that are as tragic as they are

Detective inspector John Reid added: "If Samaira had
come to us and told us there were difficulties at home
or she felt threatened, we might have been in a
position to help her. But the stringent conditions
operating in such families would have prohibited her
coming forward."


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