Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Honor" crimes

Police told to treat hundreds more attacks as 'honour' crimes
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:55 AM on 22nd September 2009
Comments (0) Add to My Stories Failed: Banaz Mahmod was killed by her father and her uncle despite having complained to police
Hundreds of attacks are to be treated as 'honour' crimes in a new drive by police to prosecute more offenders.
Prosecutors hope the drive will also ensure that victims receive more rapid protection that can save them from possible further violence or a forced marriage.
Under the new guidance it will be assumed that an honour crime has been committed in any case in which there is the slightest sign that such an offence has taken place - even if the victim has not reported it.
Elements of the strategy are designed to ensure that potentially vital evidence of honour-based persecution is not overlooked.
It will include information for police and prosecutors on how to identify male victims amid concern that at least 15 per cent of cases involve attacks or forced marriage inflicted on men.
The horrific consequences of honour violence were highlighted by an attack in Leytonstone in July in which a 24-year-old Danish man of Asian origin had acid poured down his throat and was repeatedly stabbed because of his relationship with a Muslim woman.
In January 2006 Banaz Mahmod was killed after falling in love with a man her family did not want her to marry.

The 20-year-old, who had left an arranged marriage and started a relationship with Rhamat Sulemani, 29, was strangled with a bootlace at her home in Surrey in January 2006.

Her father Mahmod Mahmod, 52, and uncle Ari Mahmod, 50, of Mitcham, were convicted of the killing.

The pair decided she must pay "the ultimate price" for bringing shame on them.

Ms Mahmod had made a series of complaints to police and agreed to press charges a day before she was killed.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission investigated how police dealt with her.

Officers will also be instructed to look out for disabled victims in response to evidence that some people with learning difficulties are being pressed into marriages to help their new spouses gain entry to Britain.
The new approach will be unveiled tomorrow at a London conference organised by the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Crown Prosecution Service.
There will also be a new attempt to persuade victims of female genital mutilation to come forward following the failure of legislation passed six years ago to outlaw the practice to result in a single conviction.
Under the new approach, which mimics the detection techniques used to tackle race-hate crime following the Stephen Lawrence murder, reports from friends or relatives about possible honour violence will be taken seriously, even if the victim has failed to raise the alarm.
Other indications such as a girl's sudden disappearance from school will also be seen as significant.
Announcing the new measures, Nazir Afzal, the Crown Prosecution Service's legal director, said: 'It will be about making sure we look for the signs so that we don't miss cases.'
On the issue of male victims, Mr Afzal said one vulnerable group were gay men, who were sometimes forced into marriage because of a desire from their families to hide their sexuality, while other cases arose when relatives wanted to divert a male family member away from criminal associates.
The number of specialist prosecutors tackling the problem will also be increased with the number employed in London, which currently has 10, scheduled to double over the coming months.

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