9 Dec 2010

Montreal mother charged with attempted murder of daughter for staying out late in so-called 'honour' crime

CBC - Canada June 14, 2010

Montreal mother charged in 'crime of honour'

Lawyer argues client had temporary lapse in mental capacity

A Montreal-area mother has been charged with attempted murder after her teenage daughter needed hospital treatment for stab wounds in what police are calling a "crime of honour."

Johra Kaleki, 38, broke into tears during a brief appearance at a Montreal courthouse Monday afternoon.

Police were called to a home in Dorval, on the West Island, early Sunday after receiving a call about a domestic dispute. When officers arrived, they found a 19-year-old girl with stab wounds on her head and face.

Her mother, a native of Afghanistan, was arrested.

The victim — the eldest of four daughters — has severe head injuries, but police said her life was not in danger.

Investigators were still establishing a motive, but it appeared the daughter was out late on the weekend.

The situation was being treated by investigators as a "crime of honour," said police Const. Olivier Lapointe.

"It's because of the elements that we got from witnesses from the interrogation that leads us to believe that the motive of the attack was the situation with the daughter," Lapointe said. "Her behaviour that didn't fit what the family wanted."

The woman's husband and the couple's three other daughters were in the house at the time of the stabbing.

The three children are now in the custody of youth protection services.

Kaleki faces charges of attempted murder, assault and possession of a weapon.

During the court hearing Monday, the woman's husband stood and addressed the judge.

"Please sir, my wife is innocent," said Ebrahim Ebrahimi, before being ordered to sit down.
Psychiatric evaluation ordered

Kaleki was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at the request of her lawyer, who said the woman had suffered a temporary lapse in her mental capacity at the time of the incident.

"We asked to see if the person is fit to stand trial and if they're responsible for their acts," said defence lawyer Tom Pentefountas.

At the request of the Crown, Kaleki was ordered not to communicate with her husband.

An honour crime in some cultures implies the "notion that if somebody tries to bring dishonour to the family, that person should be eliminated in order to restore the name of the family back, or restore the honour back," said psychiatrist Dr. Amin Muhammad of Memorial University in St. John's.

"If their children would adopt the western ways of life, that would come in direct conflict with their own cultural mindset and their own perceived norms," he said.

Muhammad, whose area of expertise is transcultural psychology, said this is the 13th case documented in Canada. According to the United Nations, 5,000 women are killed in such incidents each year, he said.

Usually, he said, it is a male relative — including a husband, father or brother — who is the perpetrator.

Kaleki is expected to return to court in mid-July.

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Toronto Star - June 14, 2010

Mother stabbed daughter in 'honour crime': Police

Andrew Chung | Quebec Bureau

MONTREAL – Favouring her left forearm, on which spots of blood had soaked through the white bandage, the woman stood in the prisoner’s box looking crushed, accused of stabbing her own daughter in what police say was an “honour crime.”

After her lawyer, Tom Pentefountas, asked to delay the formal laying of charges so his client’s psychological fitness for trial could be determined, the woman’s husband stood up in the back of the court and shouted to the judge: “Please sir, my wife is innocent!”

He soon began to weep, completing the picture of a family utterly torn asunder by what transpired early Sunday morning.

The 19-year-old daughter remains in hospital with knife wounds to the head, shoulders and arms.

It’s believed that the daughter came home late, Pentefountas, a prominent name in the Montreal legal community, indicated to the court.

One source said she is believed to have returned home after 3 a.m. The assault happened just after 8, according to police.

Police based their theory that it was an honour crime on “what we saw at the scene of the crime,” said Olivier Lapointe, spokesperson for the Montreal Police Service, and especially on interviews with people inside the house and the victim herself.

It appeared related to the “behavior of the victim,” Lapointe said.

The woman, 38-year-old Johra Kaleki, faces charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

According to Amnesty International, there are more than 5,000 honour crimes in the world each year.

They are an “ancient practice” in a number of countries tied more so to culture than religion. Typically the woman is murdered by a member of her own family after tarnishing the family’s honour for ostensibly “immoral” behavior, often in relation to virginity or modesty.

The three other daughters in the family are currently in the custody of provincial youth protection authorities.

The family, which is Afghan in origin, moved to the neighbourhood in Dorval, near Montreal’s main airport, about five years ago, according to neighbour Emery Dora.

The family was pleasant, but “mostly kept to themselves,” Dora said. For instance, the father and the girls would play together but not with other children in on the street. The father, Ebrahim Ebrahimi, wouldn’t let a younger daughter play soccer with other girls in their backyard, Dora added.

In court on Monday afternoon Kaleki, dropped her head in despair as Pentefountas asked the judge for a mental assessment for his client.

“We think there was a temporary lapse of mental capacity,” Pentefountas told Justice Serge Boisvert.

Boisvert said Kaleki is normally a “balanced individual,” but that it’s alleged she “lost possession of her capacity on that particular morning.”

Crown Prosecutor Anne Gauvin said the police file only states that she was “hysterical,” but did not oppose the mental assessment, which the judge agreed to.

The court granted Gauvin’s request to bar communication between Kaleki and her children, but not her husband.

“He’s an important witness in the Crown’s case,” Gauvin said.

Lapointe said according to their information, the husband tried to intervene during the alleged altercation.

Last summer, after a car was found submerged in the Kingston canal, a Montreal-area couple of Afghan origin were accused along with their son of killing their three daughters and another relative in what was also believed to be an honour crime. Their trial will begin next year.

Kaleki will be back in court July 12.

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