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Trial begins for 'honour killing' of teen daughter

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11:36 CEST+02:00

A 53-year-old Pakistani man known as Scheragha R goes on trial on Tuesday for the vicious murder in 2010 of his 16-year-old daughter, Swera.

Almost exactly two years have passed since Scheragha R killed his teenage daughter in their family apartment in Zurich Höngg.

At first, it was assumed that the murder was a so-called honour killing in response to the shame that the father claimed his daughter had brought upon the family.

But recent psychiatric reports suggest that this theory does not fit with the killer’s profile, and that he may instead have killed his daughter a fit of emotion. These are the questions that the court will examine on the first day of the trial.

The fact that Scheragha R deeply regrets his actions and no longer wishes to live are factors that will be advanced by the defence and which point away from the honour killing theory, online news site Blick reported.

The prosecutor, Ulrich Krättli, will nevertheless argue that this was an honour-killing, carried out consciously and deliberately, and brought about by the father’s inability to bear his daughter’s wayward and un-Islamic behaviour. He is looking for a sentence of between 10 years and life imprisonment.

The murder took place on May 10th 2010, not long after 16-year-old Swera had been picked up at a Zurich police station by her parents. She had been caught stealing cigarettes.

It was the first time the girl had seen her father for two weeks: she had run away after her father had allegedly tried to electrocute her by throwing a hairdryer into the bath, online news site 20 Minuten reported.

Once back at their apartment Swera said she wanted to leave home permanently and started to pack a bag. She then went down to the basement of the building to get a pair of shoes. While she was gone, her father allegedly retrieved an axe from the balcony and hid it in the bedroom he shared with his wife.

Once she was back in the apartment, the girl went into her parents' bedroom to pick up some of her belongings. When she bent down to retrieve some items from the wardrobe, her father hit her with the axe on the back of the head, the prosecutor says. The man struck his daughter 19 times with the axe: 12 times with the blade and seven with the blunt end.

The teenager did not die instantly, but lay on the ground in agonizing pain for several minutes until her life finally slipped away.

After washing his hands, Scheragha R left the apartment and called his wife to say he had killed his daughter. Fifteen minutes later, he called the police, who arrested him shortly after near his apartment.

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