Wed, Oct 01, 2003 - Page 7 News List

Father kills child for being too westernized

HONOR KILLING The 16-year-old girl, who had a relationship outside her religion, was subjected to months of brutal beatings before her father finally slit her throat

THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

Heshu Yones, a muslim teenager who was hacked to death in an 'honor killing' by her father.

PHOTO: AP

A 47-year-old Kurdish father who slit his teenage daughter's throat after she started dating a man from outside her own culture was jailed for life on Monday.

British police said the murder of Heshu Yones, 16, was an "honor killing." Her father, Abdalla Yones, subjected her to months of beatings before stabbing her 17 times because he feared Heshu was too westernized.

The teenager had been planning to run away from home. In a note to her father she tried to cope with her ordeal by joking about the beatings he meted out to her: "Hey, for an older man you have a good strong punch and kick."

Yones, an Iraqi Kurd who gained indefinite leave to remain in Britain after opposing the Saddam Hussein dictatorship, begged a judge at the Old Bailey central criminal court in London to order his execution.

Yones, a Muslim, had become "disgusted and distressed" by his daughter's relationship with an 18-year-old Lebanese Christian A-level student. In October last year Heshu barricaded herself in the bathroom of the family home in west London. The father broke down the door and stabbed his daughter repeatedly, before slitting her throat and leaving her bleeding in the bath.

Then Yones attempted suicide by cutting his throat and throwing himself off a third floor balcony.

He was in hospital for several months and claimed that al-Qaida had broken into the family flat and murdered his daughter.

Heshu was described as a "bubbly" and "fun loving girl" in court. The jury was read a farewell letter the teenager wrote to her father as she planned to run away.

In it she apologized for having been a problem, promised to pay back any money she owed him and asked him not to worry about her.

The letter read: "Bye Dad, sorry I was so much trouble. Me and you will probably never understand each other, but I'm sorry I wasn't what you wanted, but there's some things you can't change.

"Hey, for an older man you have a good strong punch and kick.

"I hope you enjoyed testing your strength on me, it was fun being on the receiving end. Well done.

"One day when I have got a proper job, every penny I owe you will be repaid in full.

"I'm sure in saying I will be safe. I will find a way to independently look after myself. "I will go to social security and get myself a flat or hostel. I will be okay.

"Don't look for me, because I don't know where I'm going yet, I just want to be alone."

The court heard her grades had begun to slip. To limit any offence to her father, Heshu would wait until reaching college to put on make-up.

Yones never adapted to life in Britain and the cultural tensions it placed on his family; he wanted his daughter to observe his interpretation of strict tradition, but she wanted a more liberal life.

Yones was described as "a fish out of water" and became depressed, but his children thrived and Heshu studied at the William Morris Academy in Fulham, south-west London.

Sentencing Yones, who pleaded guilty, to life imprisonment, Judge Neil Denison said the Kurd was still suicidal: "This is, on any view, a tragic story arising out of irreconcilable cultural differences between traditional Kurdish values and the values of western society."

Icah Peart QC, defending Yones, said that before the murder his client had received a letter, written in Kurdish, describing his daughter as a slut who was sleeping with her boyfriend on a daily basis.

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