- Published on Thursday, 23 July 2009 14:39
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 9719
Police in Kingston, Ontario have arrested and charged three people with the murder of four Montreal women found in a car submerged under 3 metres of water in the Rideau canal near Kingston on June 30, 2009. They were returning from a trip to Niagara Falls when they stopped overnight in Kingston. The three women were Zainab Shafi, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, along with a 50-year-old woman, Rona Amir Mohammed. The three younger ones were sisters and were the daughters of Mohammed Shafi.
It has now been revealed that Shafi married Rona 30 years ago in Afghanistan but because he could not have children by her, married Tooba Mohammed Yhaya. He has never divorced Rona. He and his family of seven children moved to Canada 2 years ago and described Rona as a cousin although she looked after the children and they thought she was an aunt.
Arrested were father Mohammed Shafi, his wife - Tooba Mohammed Yhaya, and their son (not named).
They were headed to Montreal airport - presumably with the intent of leaving the country. Information that probably lead to the arrests came from Diba Masoomi who is Rona's sister and lives in France. She provided the photo (left, courtesy of Sun Media) showing Rona's marriage to Shafi and said "Rona, as well as the oldest daughter, Zainab, had been receiving death threats for social, cultural and family reasons."
In announcing the arrests at 2:00pm July 23, the Kingston Police chief was obviously moved and mourned the fact that these people had come to Canada for freedom and a better life but lost their lives in a "needless and senseless" murder.
Update July 24, 2009
The name of the 18 year old son arrested is Hamed Shafia. This was probably withheld while his age was checked. If he was under 18, it would not have been given.
The story about them heading to the airport applied only to one not all three. One alleged motive given by a relative was that the father was "disgraced by his daughters behaviour in Canada." I would guess they were doing what they should have been doing, behaving like Canadians.
Update July 30
A new report on the Kingston honour killings quotes the murdered wife's brother as saying there were problems two weeks before the murders. The older daughter did not want to go on the trip but as was usual was coerced to comply. The brother also repeats the allegation that the deaths were honour killings. It is getting clearer that the Police will have a good case.
Update July 31
Mohammad Shafia and his son Hamed are sharing a cell in the Quinte Detention centre in Napanee to protect them from other prisoners. This was requested by their lawyers after inmates assaulted Hamed and tried to attack his father. Mohammad, his son and his wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya have all been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and four counts of conspiracy to commit murder.
Newspaper comments by Muslims since the arrest have mostly been to say that their actions were not due to their religion but that there were other motivations. Seems to me that the Muslims in Canada have not yet woken up to the problems inherent in their religion - or at the very least, the errors in the teaching by their Imams.
Update August 1, 2009
According to the Montreal Gazette today, Ammar Wahid, a 26-year-old Montrealer, said that he and Zainab were married in at a mosque in St. Léonard (a suburb of Montreal) on May 19. They decided to end the union the following day after seeing how both of their families reacted. They tried to hold a reception but no one from Wahid's side of the family showed up and Zainab's parents convinced her to end it. Wahid said he never filed the document to have the marriage officially recognized in Quebec.
Wahid said Zainab talked often of her father and how he tried to control her. He also said he believes Zainab was engaged to another man "about 18 months ago."
"I think her parents were happy with that engagement but she wasn't and she broke it off after six months," Wahid said.
According to a report in the Toronto Sun, Zainab was planning to announce her engagement to Hussain Hyderi, a 27-year-old Montrealer, the day after she was killed. The man told the newspaper that he "never loved anyone as much as I loved Zainab."
Wahid said Mohammad Shafia did not only disapprove of Zainab's choice in men. He said her father debated his daughter on whether she should work or continue to pursue her education. She left her family's home in St. Léonard earlier this year after arguing over such a topic, Wahid said, adding he was shocked when he learned Zainab's body had been found in Kingston.
Update August 6, 2009
The 3 accused appeared briefly via video at Kingston courthouse Thursday with one request: that they be allowed to speak to their three surviving children without lawyers present.
The judge agreed to the requests of father, mother and son. All communication from the accused was in Farsi requiring the use of a translator.
The three were remanded to custody until their next court date on Aug. 14, where lawyers will discuss the disclosure of evidence.
In prison, Yahya sits and stares wordlessly through the bars of her cell, said another inmate who spent a week on the same wing at the prison and was in court today.
“I felt bad for her,” she said. “Other inmates would go up to her and make comments or threats, but she just sat and stared and never said a word.” [She's probably a victim too!]
Yahya was only escorted from her cell when all other inmates were enclosed in theirs, the other inmate said.
Lawyers for the men reported Hamed was assaulted while in jail, and his father was threatened.
Information about the trial for these murders can be found here.