April 3, 2008 – 7:45AMThe Victim Banaz Mahmod

Sydney Morning Herald

Two British police forces failed a young Kurdish woman who was tortured,
raped and murdered in an honour killing plotted by her family, the police
watchdog concluded.

Investigations by the police in England’s West Midlands and Scotland Yard in
London let down Banaz Mahmod after not taking seriously death threats
against her, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said.

The 20-year-old was raped and garrotted during an ordeal lasting more than
two-and-a-half hours at her family home in south London last year after
falling in love with a man her family thought was unsuitable.

Her body was later found in a suitcase beneath a house in Birmingham,
central England. Members of her family and several family friends had
plotted her murder.

Her father Mahmod Mahmod, 52, and her uncle Ari Mahmod, 51, were jailed for
life last July after being found guilty of murder. A third man, Mohamad
Hama, 31, pleaded guilty to murder and will spend at least 17 years in jail.

Banaz had told police four times she feared for her life after falling in
love with a man of whom her family disapproved, but her claims were not
taken seriously, the court heard.

The IPCC criticised the forces over their response. It also said the
investigations were plagued by delays, poor supervision and a “lack of
understanding and insensitivity” .

The IPCC recommended the forces review their internal policies, particularly
relating to sexual offences and retrain officers to better handle domestic
and honour-based violence.

“Banaz Mahmod was a young woman who lost her life in terrible
circumstances, ” IPCC Commissioner Nicole Williams said in a statement,
calling the death tragic.

“It is clear that the police response was at best mixed.”

The court had heard how the woman angered her family after walking out of an
abusive arranged marriage she entered aged 17.

She later fell in love with an Iranian Kurd, Rahmat Suleimani, 28, meeting
him in secret and swapping messages several times a day.

The IPCC investigation criticised seven Metropolitan police officers with
two – a constable and an inspector – now facing disciplinary action.

Three West Midlands officers are also criticised in the IPCC report and will
receive written warnings.



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