Muslim Parliament logo
Muslim Parliament
The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain
Links Links go to homepage

In the media

Special units to crack down on honour killing

Police and prosecutors target 'hotspots'

Karen McVeigh
Saturday June 16 2007
Guardian

Dedicated teams of senior prosecutors are to be deployed in the UK's honour killing hotspots in the wake of the failings exposed this week by the case of a young Kurdish woman murdered by her family.

The prosecutors, who have all had experience of complex organised crime cases, will start work this month as part of an overhaul of how cases are handled. The move is designed to boost conviction rates and improve protection for victims.

The Crown Prosecution Service has revealed the changes after the justice system was criticised for doing too little to protect vulnerable women. Senior police officers told the Guardian that there are systemic failures in how cases are handled - measures proposed years ago have been shelved, delayed or ignored, they warn.

Chief constables and the Home Office are also working together with other agencies to ensure that women in danger are identified early and dealt with properly to improve protection for victims. Plans to be published soon by the Association of Chief Police Officers will tell forces to follow new risk assessment models to ensure women are taken seriously if they complain of family violence.

The changes come after Banaz Mahmod, a 20-year-old Kurd, was murdered by her father and uncle because they disapproved of her boyfriend who was not a strict Muslim and was not of their tribe.

She was found dumped in a suitcase, with the shoelace used to kill her around her neck. She had repeatedly told police her family were trying to kill her. In one instance where she had escaped from her father, she was not taken seriously, and described as melodramatic and manipulative by an officer who interviewed her.

A police inquiry is under way.

The CPS will this month pilot its new approach in four "hotspot" areas. A team of 20 prosecutors are to be based in London, the West Midlands, West Yorkshire and Lancashire. Each one will be trained by a number of different agencies including the police, the government's forced marriage unit and the independent victims group, the Southall Black Sisters.

The complex investigation and three-month trial for Ms Mahmod's murder relied on initiatives more often used to tackle organised crime, such as the use of covert investigative techniques and special measures for key witnesses, two of whom needed police protection. Such techniques are increasingly used to deal with honour crimes.

The CPS will also introduce a "flag" for any forced marriage or honour crime cases, so they can be logged and monitored.

Nazir Afzal, the CPS lead on honour-based violence, said that such crimes are often elaborate, pre-planned and can involve many suspects.

One in nine honour killings in the UK is carried out by hit men, he said. It is also common for the youngest member of the family to carry out the murder, with the others playing a lesser role.

"Some families carrying out these types of crimes are very subtle in how they go about it," said Mr Afzal. He said the CPS was determined to prosecute every individual involved. Under the new Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act, if a person fails to intervene to protect a family member they too can face justice.

Mr Afzal said that the CPS was committed to extraditing honour crime suspects who flee abroad and that it was seeking to extradite the two remaining suspects in Ms Mahmod's murder, believed to be in Iraqi Kurdistan. Ms Mahmod named the two, Omar Hussein and Mohammed Ali, as among those she believed were plotting to kill her in a letter she handed to the police the month before she was killed nearly 18 months ago.

However, the service is facing legal obstacles. The new 2005 Iraqi constitution does not allow subjects to be extradited.

Copyright Guardian News and Media Limited

See Muslim Parliament press release Banaz Mahmod honour killing

 

 

 

Media archive

Shariah Queries Pose Challenge

Gaza and the radicalisation of British Muslims

Law to protect the young must cover madrassas as well

This is no way to fight terror

A marriage of convenience will not do

Frustrated love and forced marriage

Changing the face of Muslim family life

New model Muslim marriage contract ‘revolutionary’ for UK women

British women who paid dearly for not registering their marriages

New Sharia law marriage contract gives Muslim women rights

Is this the beginning of a new European Islam?

Compulsory lessons urged on forced marriage and 'honour' violence

Law and principle are lost in the crazy politics of 42 days

A shaming victory - Brown 42 days

Islam's holiest city set for 130-skyscraper redevelopment

No more mosques, says senior Synod member

Muslim reformer's 'heresy': The Islamic state is a dead end

Intellectuals condemn fatwa against writers

Met 'let down' victim killed by her family

Divisions In Our World Are Not The Result Of Religion

Home secretary accused of putting off vote on terrorism bill

Muslim leader says families must help catch honour killers

Blasphemy caused by cuddly animals

Mistake to curb liberties in response to 7/7, says minister

Asim Siddiqui: Beyond Hizb ut-Tahrir

Naomi Klein: Why failure is the new face of success

Naomi Klein: The erasing of Iraq

Naomi Klein: The age of disaster capitalism

Special units to crack down on honour killing

Can Culture Be Bought In the Gulf?

Luxury timeshares on offer at Islam's holiest pilgrimage site

The shortest route to peace… is through Jerusalem

Pope and Islam - Muhammad's Sword

Pope and Islam -
Roots of rationality

Removal of men from holiday flight condemned

How Islam got political: Founding fathers

MPs fear police terror raid will hit community relations

Muslims question terror raid tactics

A pantomime in Forest Gate

Sudan’s Turabi - Muslim women can marry Christian or Jew

Faith leaders unite to champion supportive care for terminally ill

Warning on Muslim schools 'abuse'

Government urged to introduce registration scheme for religious Islamic schools

Call for national register of mosque schools

A call to protect Madrasa-goers from abuse

Abuse widespread in Islamic schools, says Muslim leader

Madrassa children ‘at risk of abuse’

Islamic schools in denial about child abuse

Muslim rally organisers tell extremists to stay away

Calls to scrap holocaust day slammed

The destruction of Mecca: Saudi hardliners are wiping out their own heritage

Britain to rebrand ethnic minorities

Live chat with the leader of the Muslim Parliament in Britain

Religious leaders braced for more faith-hate attacks

Police investigate 'backlash' attacks

Fanatics realise worst fears of Muslims

Muslims, do not be fooled by this law

Prisoners freed a year ago struggle to rebuild their lives

Muslim leaders consult other faiths for advice on stamping out abuse

Could the tsunami disaster be a turning point for the world?

Muslim men use law loophole to get a harem of ‘wives’

Novice imams must be vetted, Muslim leaders say

End these detentions

Muslim leaders blame Blair’s war on Iraq for growing alienation

End this internment now

Under siege on all sides, Muslims plead for peace

Islamic weddings leave women unprotected

Muslim leaders attack extremists' claims

Talking Point Forum interview with Dr Siddiqui

Focus on forced Asian marriages

British High Court judge condemns forced Asian marriages

Islam and the voice of reason

Passionate debate on a landmark in race relations

Leave us Muslims out of the anti-terror laws