Insult case after honor killing before Supreme Court

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The Dutch Supreme Court will soon issue a final ruling in a long-running dispute over the true motives in the 2009 murder of Narges Achikzei. The beautiful 23-year-old Afghan student was set on fire by the sister of a friend of her fiancé a week before her false criminal trial against her former employer Ralph Geissen and two weeks before her arranged marriage to her fiancé Haroen Mehraban in front of a running surveillance camera in a flat on the Laan van Vollenhove in Zeist.

Honest detectives involved in the investigation concluded 3 days after the murder that Narges Achikzei was a victim of "honor killing" and because of extortion of a company and shared this news anonymously in the media. Experts on honor killings working for the police were brought in to advise the investigation team.

Neighbors of Narges Achikzei and Geissen publicly expressed their lack of confidence that the police would conduct the investigation fairly. The sense of dissatisfaction with the police performance grew when the investigation leader denied there were any indications of an honor killing on a widely viewed television program, as Narges Achikzei's family denied honor killing as a motive. In an investigative notice, police indicated that honor killing was cited by some as a motive because Narges Achikzei is an Afghan woman and stressed that the legal conflict had nothing to do with the victim's Islamic background. The police then clearly hinted that they were looking for witnesses to confirm jealousy as a motive.

Although the executor publicly denied twice in court that she was jealous of the victim or in love with Haroen Mehraban and expressed that she had "nothing against her," the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal chose to attach a jealousy motive to this murder with the phrase in its ruling that "there are indications in the criminal file that the executor may have been in love with the man Narges Achikzei was to marry." The executor was sentenced to 12 years in prison and forced admission to a psychiatric hospital.

Geissen chose to publicly accuse Zeist police for their bad performance in all of Narges Achikzei's criminal cases.

The policewoman who had helped Narges Achikzei file a false report against her former employer Geissen for libel, slander, defamation and stalking by e-mail stated that she felt terribly offended by Geissen and filed charges of defamation, slander and libel. Her charges led to Geissen being ordered by criminal judges to pay a fine of 150 euros for insult, libel and slander.

The following text by Geissen in a Youtube video is insulting, according to judges: "Officer Anita Frielink (ps) of police Zeist is corrupt. She lied so that the former employer of scammer Narges Achikzei would be prosecuted by the Public Prosecution Service for libel, slander and stalking by email. When Narges was burned alive by a sister of a friend of her ex-husband. Because she wanted to marry a man of her own choosing and was in love with a Dutch man the police fabricated jealousy as a motive to cover up corruption, fraud and an honor killing."

Geissen's lawyer filed a cassation appeal with the Supreme Court of the Netherlands last week to challenge the court's ruling. Attorney Walther points out that Geissen is the victim's former employer and had already drawn attention to the fact that she was the victim of a forced marriage before her death. Although there was apparently insufficient criminal evidence for this, according to Geissen (and others) it cannot be ruled out that other persons were involved in this murder. Geissen repeatedly pointed police and judicial authorities to indications, that this is an honor killing and because of Narges Achikzei's obstruction of a forced marriage. According to Geissen, these indications were never taken seriously and did not lead to a proper investigation. Moreover, the lawyer said, Geissen was severely damaged by the extremely gruesome murder of someone he had known closely and who was dear to him.

According to Geissen, the executor's sentence would have been very different if she had been presented to judges as a witness with him based on the two most commonly stated motives. The remarks were not intended as insults and are not punishable because of freedom of speech.

In a few months, the attorney general will advise the Supreme Court whether the conviction should stand or be overturned.

What is an honour killing?

An honour killing is a murder in the name of honour. If a brother murders his sister to restore family honour, it is an honour killing. According to activists, the most common reasons for honour killings are as the victim:

Questions about honour killings

  • refuses to cooperate in an arranged marriage.

  • wants to end the relationship.

  • was the victim of rape or sexual assault.

  • was accused of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

Human rights activists believe that 100,000 honour killings are carried out every year, most of which are not reported to the authorities and some are even deliberately covered up by the authorities themselves, for example because the perpetrators are good friends with local policemen, officials or politicians. Violence against girls and women remains a serious problem in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Serbia and Turkey.

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