Woman raped before "honor killing": court

LONDON Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:54am EDT

Banaz Mahmod in an undated police handout photo. A Kurdish woman was brutally raped, stamped on and strangled by members of her family and their friends in an ''honor killing'' carried out at her London home because she had fallen in love with the wrong man. REUTERS/Metropolitan Police/Handout

Banaz Mahmod in an undated police handout photo. A Kurdish woman was brutally raped, stamped on and strangled by members of her family and their friends in an ''honor killing'' carried out at her London home because she had fallen in love with the wrong man.

Credit: Reuters/Metropolitan Police/Handout

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LONDON (Reuters) - A Kurdish woman was brutally raped, stamped on and strangled by members of her family and their friends in an "honor killing" carried out at her London home because she had fallen in love with the wrong man.

Banaz Mahmod, 20, was subjected to the 2-1/2 hour ordeal before she was garroted with a bootlace. Her body was stuffed into a suitcase and taken about 100 miles to Birmingham where it was buried in the back garden of a house.

Her badly decomposed body was found in April 2006, three months after the killing.

Last month a jury found her father Mahmod Mahmod, 52, and his brother Ari Mahmod, 51, guilty of murder after a three-month trial. Their associate Mohamad Hama, 30, had earlier admitted killing her.

On Thursday at a pre-sentence hearing for Hama, the Old Bailey heard details about Banaz's last moments.

Prosecutors said the three convicted men, along with two other suspects who are still at large, had carried out the killing fearing that the authorities were closing in on them.

They believed Banaz had brought shame on the family by leaving her husband, an Iraqi Kurd she had been forced to marry at 17, and falling in love with Rahmat Suleimani, an Iranian Kurd.

Her former unnamed partner had raped her as well as repeatedly beating her, the court heard.

Hama, who prosecutors said had been a ringleader in the murder, was caught by listening devices talking to a friend in prison about the murder.

In the recordings, transcripts of which were relayed to the court, Hama and his friend are hearing laughing as he described how she was killed with Banaz's uncle "supervising".

"I was kicking and stamping on her neck to get the soul out. I saw her stark naked, only wearing pants or underwear," Hama is recorded as saying.

His lawyers say there is no evidence to support the prosecution's claims.

The decision to kill her came after a meeting on January 23 -- the day before she was murdered -- when the family decided to take action before the police could foil their attempts, said prosecutor Victor Temple.

Hama is due to be sentenced on Friday with Mahmod Mahmod and his brother, Ari.

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