Mother, son convicted of threatening woman, boyfriend with honour killing

OTTAWA — A mother and son, both Pakistani immigrants, were found guilty of several criminal charges Wednesday for harassing and threatening the daughter of the family after she “dishonoured” them for courting a “white guy.”

Both had threatened to kill the daughter and her non-Muslim boyfriend whom she had met while working with him at a McDonald’s restaurant.

Ontario Superior Court Judge Monique Metivier found the mother, Iqbal Bibi, guilty on two counts of uttering threats and one charge of intimidation, and her son, Khawar Saeed, guilty of one count each of criminal harassment, uttering threats, and intimidation.

They will be sentenced April 30.

Metivier said the daughter, Gulshan, was of an age to do what she chose.

The court heard that the family had emigrated to Canada in 2005 and had been strict with Gulshan to the point of not allowing her to socialize.

Soon after becoming romantically involved with her boyfriend, Corey Steel, Gulshan arrived home late after an evening with friends in the summer of 2011. Her father punched and slapped her in the face, before his son intervened to stop the assault.

The father, Mohammed Saeed, pleaded guilty and has already served a 300-day jail sentence for assault and uttering death threats.

After the beating, Gulshan left home to live with her boyfriend’s family and from that point the threats and harassment began and grew so intense that cousins, uncles, aunts and other family members regularly stood outside the Steel house while Bibi, alternating between hysteria and fury, urged her daughter to come home.

The harassment continued during Gulshan and Steel’s shifts at McDonald’s.

The Steel’s home phone and their son’s cellphone were inundated with crank phone calls, and Khawar sent a series of threatening texts to his older sister, then 20.

“If dad doesn’t kill you I will,” he texted, also telling her that Steel was “a white guy who would abandon you … We will be nothing when someone finds out.”

The girl’s mother, who left the courtroom in tears after listening to the proceedings with the aid of a translator, also threatened her daughter and Steel with death.

“We are going to kill you … and him,” she said, referring to Steel.

But Gulshan was adamant: “I’m not coming home,” she said, although she did agree to stay over at the family home one night when she knew her father was out of town.

Despite the harsh treatment, Gulshan had earlier told the court that she still loves her mother.

During the trial, the court was told by honour killing expert Shahrzad Mojab that culturally, the crimes were rooted in the control of women’s bodies and that when that control is wrestled away, it translates into shame and significant loss of respect within the family’s community.

The court heard Wednesday that the Saeed case was “a tragic family dispute based on a clash of cultures and familial and individual expectations.”

Bibi’s lawyer Peter Beach told the court Wednesday that the case had been “devastating” for the family and especially for Bibi, who has been forced by bail conditions to be separated from her husband for more than two years.

“They want to get back together,” he said. “It’s been a tremendous strain on the marriage. It’s been an absolute nightmare.”

The court will review the bail conditions before the mother and son are sentenced.

A link to the article can be found here.

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