Life for man who killed daughter's Christian fiancé

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The Independent Online

A Muslim businessman was jailed for life yesterday for murdering his daughter's boyfriend to prevent them marrying, in the latest "honour killing".

Mustaq Ahmed, 40, a factory owner, killed Rexhep Hasani, a Christian Albanian, when he realised he could not end his relationship with his 16-year-old daughter, Sadhia.

The Old Bailey heard how Mr Hasani, 22, was tied, gagged, beaten and asphyxiated in October last year after being lured into Ahmed's dress factory in north London.

Ahmed disapproved of the relationship despite Mr Hasani's efforts to become culturally acceptable to the Muslim family. Mr Hasani had changed his name to a Muslim one and the couple had spoken of plans for an Islamic wedding.

But, said Brian Altman, for the prosecution, "Ahmed couldn't face the thought of his daughter being with an Albanian asylum-seeker, who in his eyes was not suitable. He [Mr Hasani] was distraught about not being able to see or contact her. They were being kept apart." The couple fled to Bournemouth twice but returned after a couple of days in the first instance and were tracked down by her family and brought back to London the second time.

Mr Hasani was given a job at the factory and told he would have to earn the family's respect. But a week later, his body was found dumped in a street in Stratford, east London. Mr Altman said that, far from being accepted as a future son-in-law, Ahmed had been waiting to "teach him a lesson". Richard Fisher, for the defence, said Ahmed was now living with the grief he had caused his daughter. "Notwithstanding his punishment, Mr Ahmed carries the pain of the severe distress that has been caused to his daughter. They are reconciled to the extent that they can be," he said.

An employee at the factory, Azhar Qarishi, 36, of Chadwell Heath, east London, was found not guilty of murder.

Outside the court, Detective Inspector John Macdonald said Mr Hasani's death was an "honour killing", a practice in which family members who feel shame has been brought upon their name resort to murder. He said: "Rexhep was clearly murdered because his girlfriend's father disapproved of their relationship.

"Ahmed lulled Rexhep into a false sense of security by promising him employment and the chance of proving himself to be worthy of his daughter. In fact, all he was doing was keeping control over Rexhep's movements until he had the opportunity to kill him."

He added: "This result will again demonstrate that 'honour'-type killings will not be tolerated and will be investigated as thoroughly as any other murder."

The killing is one of a series of "honour" related deaths. Last week a Kurdish Muslim, Abdalla Yones, was jailed for life after murdering his 16-year-old daughter for having a non-Muslim boyfriend.