Samia Shahid murder: Ex Husband, father appear in court as trial begins

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A local court in Jhelum has opened the trial against the father and ex-husband of a British woman over her alleged rape and murder in the name of so-called honour, a defence lawyer said Tuesday.

Mohammad Arif said the trial began Tuesday against father Mohammad Shahid and ex-husband Mohammad Shakeel, who are accused of killing Samia Shahid, 28.

Read more: Ex-husband, father charged with Samia Shahid’s murder

He said the court delivered the charge sheet to the accused, who must decide by Oct 7 if they plead guilty or not guilty. He said both men were present in the court.

After he appeared at a pre-trial hearing last week, father Mohammad Shahid spoke to reporters outside the courtroom denying all charges.

“We will contest the case,” Arif said Tuesday, suggesting the accused may plead not guilty.

Samia Shahid’s family had initially claimed she had died of natural causes during her July trip to Pakistan. But after her second husband Mukhtar Kazim complained to police, they reopened the case.

A police investigation concluded that Shahid’s ex-husband raped her as the father stood guard before they both strangled her. It described the killing as “premeditated, cold-blooded murder”.

Read more: Samia Shahid murder case: Court denies Samia’s father bail plea

The investigation also implicated the victim’s mother, Imtiaz Bibi, and sister, Madiha Shahid, who are British nationals, in the murder. It accused them of luring the victim into the murder plot. It said both women escaped back to England after the murder, and suggested they should be extradited to Pakistan to be tried on abetment charges.

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.

Her family never accepted the second marriage, because Kazim is a Shia Muslim and not a relative, the police report said.

Pakistan reports nearly 1,000 “honour killings” every year.

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