This week, in Germany, the trial of the “honour” killing of Lareeb Khan, a 19 year old, is taking place.
Her father, Asadullah Khan and mother Shazia, are accused of murdering her in the name of “honour”.
It has been reported that Mr Khan told the court that he believed that Lareeb had brought “dishonour” to the family by being in a relationship with a boy he did not approve of. Mr Khan has also said that he wanted Lareeb to have an arranged marriage, like he and her mother had done.
Lareeb’s mother has reportedly said in a statement that has been read out in the court, that the family had received a letter from the police informing them that Lareeb had been caught trying to steal condoms. She said “at this point it became clear that there was sexual contact. When I showed the letter to my husband he snapped”. Mrs Khan appears to be attempting to frame herself as downtrodden and unable to prevent the murder, which her surviving daughter Nida is apparently refusing to accept.
A key point, which, has not yet been highlighted in the media, is that it seems that the German police did not acknowledge the risk of “honour” killing to Lareeb when they told her family that she had been caught attempting to steal condoms. We can only conclude that the police involved did not have a proper understanding of “honour” based violence and had not been sufficiently trained to know that providing this information to her parents could put her in greater danger.
The German police must be held to account for their failures for true justice for Lareeb.
This case reminds us of failings in the case of Banaz Mahmod, where a police woman who did not believe that her father had forced her to drink alcohol and attempted to kill her, instead assuming that she was just a drunken young women scared of what her family would think, returned her to them before they gang raped and murdered her. It also makes us think of the case of Heshu Yones, whose school wrote to her family suggesting that her grades had slipped because she was spending too much time with her boyfriend. Heshu Yones was later found murdered, stabbed seventeen times by her father.
Lessons must be learned immediately within the UK, Germany and across the world. All police, all school staff, all health workers and social workers; every public sector worker, must be trained to properly understand “honour” based violence and the key do’s and don’ts to prevent further “honour” killings of women and girls like Lareeb, Banaz and Heshu.