Mohammed Taroos Khan sentenced to at least 25 years in prison for murder of his niece Somaiya Begum in Bradford

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Somaiya Begum
Born: 2001
Murdered: July 6, 2020
Age: 20 years old
Residence: Bradford, United Kingdom
Origin: Bangladesh
Children: none
Perpetrator: Mohammed Taroos Khan, 53 years old
On March 14, 2023, Mohammed Taroos Khan, a 53-year-old Bengali British man, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 25 years for the murder of his 20-year-old niece, Somaiya Begum, for refusing to cooperate in a forced marriage.

Somaiya, a university student, lived with her grandmother and uncle in Bradford. A court had issued a protection order against forced marriage after her father tried to force her into marriage with a cousin in Pakistan.

Somaiya went missing on June 25, 2020, and her body was found wrapped in a carpet at a vacant lot in Bradford on July 6, 2020. CCTV footage showed Mohammed Taroos Khan dragging his niece's body out of his car and dumping it on a vacant lot. Pathologists were unable to determine the exact cause of death due to the decomposition of her body, but an 11-cm-long metal nail was found in her chest, which had punctured her lung.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that the murder could be explained as an "improper honor killing," but Jason Pitter KC, Khan's attorney, stated that "whatever it was... it was not honorable." Khan admitted to disrupting the course of justice by hiding Somaiya's body and attempting to burn her cell phone but denied the charge of murder.

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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