An Afghan family, comprising of husband, wife and their son were sent to jail for life following a decision by a jury that found them all guilty of killing Zainab, Sahar and Geeti. The said three teens were real sisters who were found dead in June 2009, while inside their family car, submerged in a Kingston (Ontario) canal. The fourth body discovered from the Nissan car was of a co-wife namely Rona Amir Mohammad; the 52-year-old was childless first wife of girls’ father Mohammad Shafia.
According to the details, the jury found Mohammad Shafia, Tooba Yahya and Hamed, respectively 58, 42 and 21 years of age, guilty of killing the aforementioned four women of their family. It took nearly 15 hours for the jury to reach the conclusion that the father, mother and brother of the 19, 17 and 13-year-old Zainab, Sahar and Geeti were guilty of ‘despicable’ and ‘heinous’ crime (as described by the judge). Shafia, Tooba and Hamed thus face four counts each of first-degree-murders.
The court believed that the girls became victim of Muslim family’s ‘honor killing’ since they dared to see and date boys; in other words, defying the family’s strict rules; they were not allowed to date, meet the boys, socialize or going online etc. The court records suggested that the entire four bodies were discovered from the canal where the family in question had reportedly stopped over while returning from Niagara Falls that night.
The prosecutors strongly believed that the poor daughters were killed by three suspects only because the family felt dishonored by their acts. However, the defendants always maintained their stance; they were innocent and that they did not kill the girls. Even after the jury had returned verdicts today, Shafia conveyed through his translator that none of them was murderer and that none of them committed the murders they were being alleged.
Tooba Yahya, the mother, also described it as ‘unjust’ as she kept on weeping while the verdicts were being read out. Son Hamed also maintained he had nothing to do with his sisters’ drowning. However, Judge Robert Maranger of the Frontenac County courthouse (Ontario) Canada said there was sufficient and clear evidence supporting the family’s conviction. He described it as ‘planned’ and ‘deliberate’ murders.