Parents, uncle of Saman Abbas convicted of murder by Italian court

honor killing verdict

In a harrowing case that unfolded in northern Italy, a court has convicted the parents and an uncle of 18-year-old Pakistani woman Saman Abbas for her murder. The chilling crime occurred after she defied her family’s insistence on an arranged marriage with a cousin in their homeland.

Saman Abbas’ lifeless body was unearthed in November 2022 from an abandoned farmhouse near her father’s workplace in northern Italy, a year and a half after she was last captured on surveillance video walking with her parents near the same fields. Italian prosecutors contended that her family orchestrated her murder on May 1, 2021, following her refusal to comply with their marriage demands.

Shabbar Abbas and Nazia Shaheen, the victim’s parents, were sentenced to life imprisonment, while her uncle, Danish Hasnain, received a 14-year prison term from the court in Reggio Emilia. Notably, two other cousins were acquitted and ordered released from custody.

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Shabbar Abbas, extradited from Pakistan in August, maintained his innocence in a tearful statement to the court during deliberations. Meanwhile, Nazia Shaheen was tried in absentia and is believed to be in Pakistan.

This trial marked a high-profile case among several criminal investigations in Italy, shedding light on the killings or mistreatment of immigrant women or girls who resisted familial pressure to marry against their will.

Saman Abbas, who had migrated from Pakistan to Novellara in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, embraced Western customs, including dating a partner of her choice. According to investigators, this led to intense displeasure from Abbas’ parents, who insisted on her marrying an older cousin in Pakistan.

An autopsy revealed the young woman had a broken neck bone, possibly caused by strangulation. She had reportedly told her boyfriend that she feared for her life, because of her refusal to marry an older man in her homeland.

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