Thursday, May 13, 2010

London Man Gets 30 Years For Acid Attack On His Sister's Lover

Although 30 years doesn't seem in any way appropriate for a man who willfully, and brutally beat up and poured acid over the face of the 25-year-old lover of his married sister, at least it's a start; especially for England that has one of the wimpiest justice systems in the world. But the tougher the sentences for vicious, barbaric 'honor' killings (or 'attempted' killing, in this case) the better. It will hopefully send a message to those who feel they have every right to maim and kill to save their so-called honor that it will not be tolerated in a civilized, western society.

Apparently, Awais Akram (25) met Sadia Khatoon (24) on Facebook and they eventually started an affair. Trouble is she was married, and when her 32-year-old husband, Shakeel Abassi, and her brother, Mohammad Vakas (26),discovered that she was being unfaithful, they decided to avenge the family's honor. Akram was lured to his fate with a text message from Sadia.

There the victim was beaten and stabbed before Vakas poured concentrated sulphuric acid over his head, leaving him with 47 per cent burns and fighting for his life. Mr Akram survived but continues to undergo treatment for his injuries. He told the court that the attack was so painful he had wanted to die.

Fellow attackers Mohammed Adeel, 20, also of Walthamstow, and a 17-year-old youth, who can now be named as Fabion Kuci, of Harlesden, northwest London, were convicted of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm. Adeel was jailed for 14 years and the youth was locked up for eight years.

Vakas received only 30 years. Sadia and her husband fled to Pakistan, although who knows if she's till alive.

The Judge, Brian Barker stated that

“It was to punish and kill Mr Akram in the most cruel and sadistic way. " “This was a terrible crime and all right-thinking citizens reject the premise on which it was done. There is no honour, and plots and actions such as this have no place in our society.”

Describing the harrowing evidence given by Mr Akram in the trial, he said: “Few of us will have seen anything like that before and we must all hope we don’t see anything like that again.”

Mr Akram has had “innumerable” operations and has suffered permanent scarring as well as being “deeply affected psychologically”, the judge said. He continued to suffer from a fear which be believes “will be there for the rest of his life”, he added.

“He did not die but his suffering then and since is almost impossible to imagine and he is left in a living nightmare.”

Vakas was a “major and crucial part of the conspiracy” and was expecting the victim to suffer “an agonising death”, the judge said, while Khatoon and her husband “were central to this plan and should have been in the dock”.
Akram was basically ambushed, and initially had no clue what hit him until it was too late.

Mr Akram did not know his attackers but realised what it was about after he heard the name “Sadia”. He told how the attack began after he heard footsteps behind him.

“Somebody hit me on my leg first from behind and then I fell on the ground and then two, three or four people surrounded me and then they all started to assault me by beating, then they threw acid before they left.

“At that time I did not know that this was acid, when they were trying to push it into my mouth, but I knew that there was something very dangerous that they were trying to force into my mouth. This is why I tried to cover my mouth, but he did throw it on me.”

Mr Akram described the excruciating pain as the sulphuric acid — a drain clearer — was poured over his head and body.

“When I started feeling this, I did not know how to understand it. I started burning, my whole body started to burn. At that point I just felt that I would be dead. Death was, I felt, a better solution than to be burning like this...

“At that time I wasn’t conscious enough to understand but whenever I think of it now I really start shaking and shivering, and I can’t believe that someone can do this to another person.”

During the plot, the men received instructions from Khatoon’s husband, Abassi, who was in a hotel room near Heathrow with his wife. She was on the phone to the unsuspecting victim who was telling her his whereabouts.

Police hailed Mr Akram’s bravery in coming forward to give evidence against his attackers despite being deeply traumatised by what happened. One officer described him as an “incredible young man”.

There is nothing whatsoever honorable about honor killings and we must make sure that immigrants realize there will be zero tolerance for that kind of tradition, regardless of whether it's acceptable in their home countries.

No comments: