Afghan brothers go on trial in Germany for 'honour killing' of sister

Two brothers, suspected of murdering their sister for not submitting to the moral standards of the family coming from Afghanistan, according to the prosecutor, cover their faces at the main hearing, at the higher regional court, in Berlin, Germany, March 2, 2022. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN, March 2 (Reuters) - Two Afghan brothers suspected of killing their sister for adopting a Western lifestyle went on trial in Berlin on Wednesday, in a case that highlights the violence against women and cultural tensions among some recent migrants to Germany.

The defendants, identified as Sayed H. and Seyed H. under German privacy laws, are accused of luring their 34 year-old sister to meet them last July in Berlin and choking her and cutting her throat, the Berlin prosecutor's office said.

All three siblings had Afghan citizenship and had been living in Germany for several years.

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The brothers, aged 23 and 27, did not accept that their sister had divorced her husband, to whom she was married at the age of 16, after a violent marriage.

They are believed to had put the body of the woman, who was a mother of two, in a suitcase and transported it on a train to Bavaria where she was buried near one of the brothers' residences, the prosecutors added.

The men have been in custody since August and could face life imprisonment if convicted.

The case casts a light on gender-based violence within migrant communities in Germany which received more than one million refugees in 2015 and 2016.

So-called "honour killings" in Syria and Afghanistan, from where the majority of refugees in Germany came from six years ago, are socially accepted and common in some communities there. The two countries rank near the bottom of the United Nations Development Programme's Gender Inequality Index.

German women's rights organization TERRE DES FEMMES (TDF) said the Afghan mother's murder was not an isolated case, calling for support services for refugee women and to close cultural gaps in refugees' integration policy in Germany.

Some 25 people were victims of attempted or actual "honour" murders in the last two years in Germany, TDF research found.

"However, this number is only the tip of the iceberg," TDF said in a statement.

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Reporting by Riham Alkousaa Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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