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Police say mother’s alleged knife attack likely a ‘crime of honour’

Montreal woman charged with attempted murder in stabbing of her teenage daughter

Montreal — The Canadian Press

Monday, Jun. 14, 2010

Police say it has all the hallmarks of a so-called honour crime.

A Montreal mother faces an attempted murder charge after her teenage daughter was stabbed in the head and chest last weekend.

Police say the mother — a 38-year-old native of Afghanistan — will appear in court Monday afternoon.

Her 19-year-old daughter is in stable condition in hospital.

“If there’s one good thing about this whole story, it’s that the victim will make it for sure,” said Montreal police Const. Olivier Lapointe.

“We have the confirmation from the doctors today. She has head, face, shoulder and arm injuries — but she will survive.”

The mother faces three charges: attempted murder, assault and possession of a weapon.

Const. Lapointe says the husband is not facing any charges in the case.

“From what we have so far we think he even tried to intervene to stop the assault,” Const. Lapointe said.

Three other daughters who were in the home at the time of the attack — aged 16, 14 and 10 — have been sheltered with youth protection.

Police were called to the West Island home at 8:15 a.m. on Sunday.

Cosnt. Lapointe said investigators quickly arrived at the conclusion that it was an “honour” crime after scanning evidence gathered from the home, from witnesses and from the victim herself.

Globe and Mail

Montreal mother to have psychiatric evaluation in alleged honour crime

Sidhartha Banerjee

Montreal — The Canadian Press

Tuesday, Jun. 15, 2010

A woman alleged to have stabbed her daughter in the head in a so-called “honour” crime – apparently because the 19-year-old arrived home late – will undergo a psychiatric evaluation to see whether she’s fit to stand trial.

Johra Kaleki, 38, was scheduled to be arraigned Monday but her lawyer argued successfully that she should be dispatched to a psychiatric hospital for a 30-day evaluation instead.

Lawyer Tom Pentefountas told Quebec court that an evaluation was necessary and, after grudgingly divulging some details of his case, he managed to convince Judge Serge Boisvert.

Police suspect the attack on the teen, who is now in hospital, was an “honour” crime. One expert says it’s the 13th case of its kind in Canada since 2002.

Mr. Pentefountas told the judge his client was normally a balanced individual – but that the Afghan-born woman took leave of her senses on Sunday morning.

“We have a situation where a mother was alleged to have stabbed her teenage daughter, the reason being alleged that she came home late,” Mr. Pentefountas told the judge.

“My colleague is raising in the file the idea of crimes of honour, and we think there was a temporary lapse in the mental capacity of Johra.”

The Crown said Ms. Kaleki was hysterical that morning and had to be calmed down.

Prosecutor Anne Gauvin said she wasn’t asking for an evaluation herself, but did not oppose the defence’s request for one. Ms. Gauvin wouldn’t go into any details about the case outside the courtroom.

The psychiatric report will show whether Ms. Kaleki is fit to stand trial and whether she can be held responsible for her actions.

Dressed in a grey T-shirt and track pants, Ms. Kaleki began sobbing quietly as her husband pleaded with the judge from his seat in the public gallery.

“Please, sir, my wife is innocent,” Ebrahim Ebrahimi told the judge as courthouse security tried to quiet him.

Ms. Kaleki is accused of three crimes, according to a charge sheet filed with the court: attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

She returns to court July 12.

She is forbidden to communicate with any of her daughters, but the judge did not approve the Crown’s request that a communication ban extend to her husband.

The family are considered important witnesses in the Crown’s case, Ms. Gauvin said. “He’s one of the Crown’s witnesses and I believe his implication in the file is important and I don’t want him to be polluted by what she could tell him,” she told reporters.

“He’s also the father of four witnesses.”

The 19-year-old daughter is in stable condition in hospital. She is expected to survive.

“If there’s one good thing about this whole story, it’s that the victim will make it for sure,” said Montreal police Constable Olivier Lapointe.

“We have the confirmation from the doctors today. She has head, face, shoulder and arm injuries – but she will survive.”

Constable Lapointe says the husband is not facing any charges in the case.

“From what we have so far we think he even tried to intervene to stop the assault,” he said.

Three other daughters who were in the home at the time of the attack – aged 16, 14 and 10 – have been sheltered with youth protection.

Ms. Gauvin said they will remain there until the file is settled.

Police were called to the West Island home at 8:15 a.m. on Sunday.

Constable Lapointe said investigators quickly reached the conclusion that it was an “honour” crime after scanning evidence gathered from the home, from witnesses and from the victim herself.

One researcher who has done extensive studies on so-called “honour crimes” said this is the 13th case documented in Canada since 2002.

Amin Muhammad, a psychiatry professor at Newfoundland’s Memorial University, said this latest case is surprising because it’s not usually women who initiate the violence.

“Women are often the co-perpetrators,” Dr. Muhammad said. “Women don’t usually attack. So in this case, it’s a bit unusual.”

Dr. Muhammad said the Canadian government is becoming more aware of the problem, prevalent in many societies. Canadian immigration booklets make it clear that honour killings are considered barbaric and unacceptable.

But he said it has little impact in some cases.

Some people “don’t care actually because they are shunned by their community or ridiculed by other members,” Dr. Muhammad said.

“They feel dishonoured and when they do this kind of act, they feel their honour is back and they will be seen with respect.”

Dr. Muhammad said he’s preparing a position paper for the federal Justice Department on honour killings and hopes the courts begin to mete out tougher sentences.

He said in some cases, the accused have used plea bargains to avoid the severity of the sentence.

The Canadian Press

3 responses

  1. http://rudhro.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/is-violence-violence/

    June 14, 2010 at 3:06 pm

  2. http://rudhro.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/woman-buried-alive-to-save-family-reputation/

    June 14, 2010 at 3:07 pm

  3. Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence?

    July 13, 2010 at 7:30 pm

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