Mons (Belgium): Belgium`s first "honour killing" trial opened on a note of high drama on Monday when a young Pakistani man suddenly confessed to the murder of one sister and the attempted murder of another.
Mudusar Sheikh, 27, is standing trial along with his
parents and younger sister for the murder of his sister, Sadia
The law student, who defied the family by living with a
Belgian and refusing an arranged marriage, was shot dead by
three bullets allegedly fired by Mudusar on October 22, 2007.
Her parents and sister are accused of aiding and abetting
the killing which took place when the student visited her
family in the hopes of patching up their quarrel.
Mudusar has admitted to killing his sister while saying
the rest of the family were not to blame.
Questioned by the presiding judge at the jury trial, he
surprised his own lawyer by suddenly confessing to the
attempted murder of his second sister, Sariya, now 22 and on
trial herself in the case.
"I am confronted by two acts, one that succeeded -- that
eradicated a person, Sadia -- and one that failed, on my
sister Sariya," who was wounded by a bullet to the arm in the
"I want to tell my family this," he went on. "I wanted to
kill Sariya. I don`t dare look you in the eye."
"I left you for dead," he added to his sister beside him
in the dock as his parents broke into tears.
The accused said he would have "a lot of things to
explain" during the high-profile trial, expected to last three
to four weeks.
The family of four face sentences of life imprisonment if
found guilty by a jury of five women and seven men at a trial
also involving rights groups pleading for gender equality as
part of a civil suit at the hearings.
Sadia Sheikh left the family home to study after her
shopkeeper parents tried to arrange a marriage with a cousin
living in Pakistan she had never met.
Before moving in with a Belgian man her age named Jean,
she was helped by fellow-students and teachers and also spent
some time in a centre for victims of domestic violence, where
she drew up a will as she felt threatened.
She had nonetheless agreed to visit the family in hopes of
making peace the day she was shot.
Her father Tarik Mahmood Sheikh, 61, mother Zahida Parveen
Sariya, 59, and sister Sariya, also facing charges of
"attempting to arrange a marriage," have denied involvement in
the murder, saying Mudusar killed his sister in a fit of rage.