Banaz Mahmod

Banaz Mahmod, 20, UK.

Banaz Mahmod Babakir Agha’s family immigrated to Britain from Kurdish Iraq in 1998.  In line with tribal customs of the strictly-traditional family, Banaz was given in arranged marriage to a member of her own tribe at age 17. Few years later, after her marriage broke down due to violence and rape, Banaz returned back to her family home and while seeking divorce fell in love with Rahmat Sulemani, an Iranian Kurdish man of a different tribe.

Her actions became known throughout the tight-knit Kurdish community in South West London and she faced multiple threats from family and community members. In December of 2005, Banaz was taken to hospital after what she recorded as her father’s attempt to kill her. Little action was taken by police despite her reporting the incident.

In January 2006, then 20 year old Banaz was raped and strangled to death with a shoelace in her family home by a gang of cousins and relatives on the order of her father and uncle. Banaz’s body was stuffed into a suitcase and buried in a garden of an abandoned house in Handsworth, Birmingham. Her body was found in April 2006, three months after she disappeared, reported missing only by her boyfriend.

It was later discovered that her father, uncle and other members of their clan had plotted and planned to murder Banaz on grounds that she had brought “dishonor” and “shame” to them.

In October 2010, Mohamad Hama of West Norwood was convicted of the murder of Banaz and given life sentence. Banaz’s cousins Mohammed Saleh Ali and Omar Hussain, both 28, received minimum jail terms of 22 and 21 years respectively. Banaz’s father Mahmod Mahmod and her uncle Ari Mahmod were subsequently jailed for life, with minimum terms of 23 and 20 years respectively, for arranging the killing.

Judge Brian Barker, the Common Serjeant of London, told them: “This was a barbaric and callous crime. To restore the so-called family honour, it was decided by her (Banaz’s) father and uncle that she should die and her memory be erased.”

He told Ali and Hussain: “You are hard and callous men who were quite prepared to assist others in killing in the so-called name of honour and who placed respect from the community above life, tolerance and understanding.”

Women’s and other organizations internationally lobbied the governments in both the UK and Iraqi Kurdistan to extradite the two remaining suspects in the murder following the guilty verdicts in June 2007. The extradition was finally ordered by the Iraqi authorities in spring 2010.

Banaz was a lively and beautiful young woman who saw a world beyond unjust rules, abuse, violence and oppression. In the midst of all her turmoil she also found love and kindness, but this was brutally taken away from the very people she called family.

May Banaz rest in peace…and may she have found that world of love and kindness that she sought and so rightly deserves…


Night frost on the window sill,

Reflects her story within it.

They thought the frost would melt

Come blistering rays of sun,

And the morning would forget

That she had lived.

But the frost turned to air,

Air to wind,

Wind to song,

Sung to the world

That she had lived.

Her nights of battle

And her days of war,

Soldiering alone

In the battlegrounds

That is the life of a woman.

In her is the life of every woman.

To forget her story is to forgot ours,

To honour her life,

Is to ensure that we too live a life of honour.

And love as beings capable of love.

For those who believe in love but who hath love snatched away,

Do still believe.

Love is that brighter day that seem so far away,

Yet is on its way…. it’s on its way.



Messages in “Banaz Mahmod”

  1. MoblieTechy says:

    pretty grrl .. RIP

    • Ashok Pursani says:

      My dear wonderful Banaz,
      I wish you could read my message to you.
      When I watched the programme which told of your very sad life, my heart was broken.
      I hit the pause button. I looked at you, your beauty, warmth and vulnerability. I wanted to shelter you from your torments. I wanted to take away your fears. I wanted to reunite you with Rahmat, I wanted to give you everything a loving parent would want to give their children.
      You and your sister Bekhal had something greater than the rest of your family ever had. The capacity to feel and show love. Your immediate family were sorely lacking in the ability to love.
      They say it was because you dishonoured your family. They dishonoured themselves and now the whole nation views them, especially your brother, with the contempt they deserve. If the world was governed by rules laid down by your family, we would live in a world devoid of love, warmth understanding and kindness. It would be a cold, dark world full of fears.
      You shone like a beacon of light in your expression of love for Rahmat. You are now that beacon of light which has touched so many lives.
      We must love and care for Bekhal. You are our inspiration, you are in our heart. Bekhal must live! Bekhal must have happiness.

      Bekhal, you must tell us what you need my sister, my daughter. I will always be there for you.
      Love is greater than honour.

    • Rest in peace beautiful lady…you are a butterfly now free to fly…you are loved…and remembered..and your cruel death let it not be in vain…let it be a lesson for the sisters that are still suffering

      God Bless his beautiful Angel


  2. Sophia says:

    Shame to all those involved for taking a lovely soul away.. RIP

  3. TIQ says:

    Cowards they are and their judgement day will come. RIP child you are in a much better place watching over us all. Your memory will live on….

  4. Ariana says:

    I am so sorry for the lack of humanity, RIP beautiful Banaz. You are and will remain in my prayers. Never forgotten…

  5. Someone says:

    All of you beautiful women who died in the name of some so-called ‘honour’ will never be forgotten. In your memory, we will do our very best to make sure it never happens again. My love goes out to you Benaz, and I hope someone up there is taking care of you and making sure you finally have the love and peace you always deserved. <3

  6. Jett says:

    Banaz, we won’t ever forget you and the beautiful woman that you are. I am sorry the world you experienced failed and hurt you so bad, what happened to you is evil, cowardice and you should never have been subjected to that. I wish we as people could have done more to help save you. Wish we could have kept you safe and I wish that we could turn back time but we cannot, I wish, I pray and I hope now that you are in a better place, beautiful and at peace. I love and care and won’t ever forget you x

  7. malcolm Arnold says:

    let her life be not in vain .let her spirit rise up and instigate change .Change that can give women their birthright which is ” the right to choose ”
    This is such a heart wrenching story Please let her life be a true blessing to all women Let it bring men to their senses release them from their fear of women
    just soo sad

  8. […] Banaz Mahmod a young British Kurdish woman in suburban London in 2006 was brutally murderedby her own family, in an honour killing because she tried to choose a life for herself. An extraordinary documentary film chronicling Banaz’s story has been produced by activist Deeyah. It will premier on September 29th at the Raindance festival in London. Details here.  […]

  9. Louise McCudden says:

    What a horribly sad story, how shameful that people could treat their family this way, and that society, the police, the people and institutions around her also failed to save her. Bless her xxx

  10. Kev says:

    So moved by this girls story, I feel we as a nation owe her a heart felt apology, that a country as great as Britain is, let her down. If anywhere in the world she could of been saved, it should of been on the shores of Great Britain. I’m sorry, RIP x

  11. george says:

    so saddened at the story of your life, rest in peace lovely lady, x

  12. Carly says:

    I watched your story last night and was completely shocked and saddened to tears. I feel so so sorry that no one helped you, what a beautiful girl. I have massive respect for your sister, a very brave lady. Berkal, you should be very proud of yourself you did the right thing. My thoughts are with you xx

  13. Laura says:

    R.I.P Benaz I hope you have found happiness, love & understanding in heaven which was denigned to you in life. No one should ever have to stuffer as you did. Your memory will live on with those that hear your story and the changes made as a result of your case. At least those who hurt you a took your life in the most awful way have met some justice.

  14. kasim says:

    What was her father thinking at the time killing his own daughter who he bought up with his own hands after seeing her documentry on itv 1 me and the rest of the family shed tears we are muslim too islam is all about peace were does it say ya can kill your own daughter killing someone is the worst thing you can do in islam as my mum said I wish banaz was my daughter the people involved may you rot in jail
    Rip sister banaz me nd my family love ya and we promise will never forget ya in our duas <3

  15. Anonymous says:

    As a muslim women brought up in western society I am one of the lucky one’s who got away unlike the brave ‘Banaz’. When one of our own passes away we always say ‘Allah na marzi’ meaning ‘she was taken by Gods will’. This beautiful young lady was taken from this earth by henious men who believe their honour in the family and community was more important than the life and love of their ‘daughter’. I know what Banaz would have gone through in the time before her life was cruelly taken from her as I myself had to take that decision to leave my family to live my life with someone who loved and respected me and still does, for my blood runs through his veins as his mine. My family came very close to killing him and me but for his quick thinking. I am one of the 1st generation muslims who took a grave decision to run and have a life, 25 years on, a wonderful husband, 2 beautiful children and a lovely house and a family who came to terms with my decision 15 years after leaving home. For all those women who live in fear of their husbands and family i wish to say ‘Be brave, seek help because there is someone out there that can help. Once you leave your family home do not go back no matter how much you are hurting or missing them, time will heal’. For the police officers who cracked the case and continued relentlessly to get the other 2 men extradited and prosecuted ‘Thankyou and may god bless you all for bringing justice for Banaz. I hope and pray that Banaz is an angel amongst other angels in a bright and peaceful land which she so deserves. RIP Banaz. xx

  16. gyan says:

    This is not Islam nor kurdish culture. Banaz Gyan may u be granted jannah Ameen! Xxxx

  17. gyan says:

    This documentary made me cry soo much! This is not Islam nor kurdish culture. Banaz Gyan may u be granted jannah Ameen! Xxxx in my duas dlakm

  18. Gary says:

    R.I.P Banaz Mahmod.
    I watched the documentry yesterday and was disgusted with anger at the family members. How could they plot and murder her. Really felt sad and sorry for Banaz as she took the steps to let people know of her situation but no one understood the seriousness.
    Its great that the killers were caught and labeled on tv as they thought they were being good muslims in their actions BUT the public and especialy muslims will differ.

  19. sara says:

    i recently watched a documentary about this young lady, She was let down by the police. I dont understand why she was never placed in a safe house away from her family and community. I’m outraged that this type of behaviour goes on in Britain, where’s the honour in rape and murder! lets put a stop to forced marriages and crimes against these oppressed young women and girls.

    Rip Banaz Mahmod.

  20. gemma says:

    R.I.P Banaz i didnt know you but saw your story your in a better place now away from evil xxxx

  21. Christina says:

    Wasn’t murder and rape more of a shame and disgrace for the family than fall for a man who was deamed unsuitable for the family. This was an outragous crime against a young girl.

  22. marie says:

    Banaz..i will remember your name..everyday..prayers that you didnt suffer in vain..that this will never happen again ..R.I.P beautiful Banaz X

  23. megan says:

    you will be remembered and hopefully honour killing will be eradicted by the work of women sticking together. your death will not be in vain. such beauty. Banaz.

  24. Paddy Hill says:

    A family should love and protect in any culture. So sad that ignorance and intolerance led to your death. Sincere good wishes to your boyfriend and sister, may they outlive the psychopaths that murdered you. To them, there is no hope or salvation.

  25. Sara McKenna says:

    Banaz. Brave soul. I hope you are free now.

  26. Sara McKenna says:

    Banaz, brave soul. I hope you are free now.

  27. bellamia says:

    rest in peace banaz you will always be remembered.

  28. Pit Becker says:

    Rest in peace, Banaz. You are not forgotten.

  29. JM says:

    We will love you always Banaz and hold you close to our hearts – I hope that you are shining bright like the beautiful lady you are, forever and always you will not be forgotten. x

  30. Ruby says:

    Men killing women and using violence to make us do what they say is not based on culture or religion. All our societies are run by men for the benefit of men.

    Banaz was killed for wanting to make her own decisions about her life. Daily, women are stopped from doing this because men prevent us.

    All women have the right to live our lives free of sexual violence, domestic abuse and fear. RIP Banaz. You are not forgotten

  31. Sarah says:

    Banaz may you rest in peace and know that so many people are thinking about you with heartfelt thoughts beautiful girl,I will never forget you x

  32. rose mci says:

    i have just seen this documentry, that poor girl, she went to the police for help and they badly let her down, and if you cant trust/rely on your own family then who can you trust ? she was such a very pretty girl and did not deserve what happend, i only hope one day her family get whats coming to them for her murder afterall her so called family still have their lives, i honestly dont know how they can sleep at night knowing they killed a member of their own family and as for her so called mother,,,the mind boggles why she let this happen, i truely hope it haunts them all for the rest of their miserable lives and i wish her sister the best she deserves credit for giving evidence against her own so called family,,,she did the righ thing…i hope she has a happy life….without her murdering family…she is better off without them.,such a sad even for a beautiful young lady that needed help and was let down so very badly by the british system.:-(

  33. Karen says:

    This documentary disturbed me deeply. The helplessness, fear and despair of this very young, and very beautiful young girl was heartbreaking to watch. I am so glad I did watch the film, even if Banaz’s story gives one girl the courage to leave, helps the police, hospitals and authorities to acquire the knowledge to act upon what they are being told. And furthermore, to educate people like myself to this awful barbarism which hides under the gruesome cloak of so called ‘honour’

  34. Paulette Hamilton says:

    What happened to Banaz was wrong on every level. The family is suppose to protect you! In life she sought happiness but never found it. Let’s just pray that her death was not in vain, and the changes needed to stop this happening again are done. It must never be Ok for anyone to kill a woman because they found love not chosen by the family. May this beautiful young woman with her life cut so cruely short rest in peace.

  35. Janet says:

    Such a sad story, RIP Banaz, hope your story stops others suffering the same fate. Can’t really find the right words to describe how much your story affected me.

  36. Peter says:

    Let us (everybody working together) do everything to prevent happening such injustice again … such a pity you are no longer with us ….

  37. jax says:

    this beautiful angel was failed. R.I.P beautiful angel wish I had known u xxxxxxxxxxx

  38. Rip beautiful angel – xx

  39. omar zehri says:

    you were beautiful then, you are beautiful now. rip x

  40. Davinder Kaur says:

    I’m so sorry that society let you down. What happened to you and to so many others is such a tragedy. I hope you can find peace in knowing that there are many who now have joined the fight in striving for change so that this does not happen again. Rest in peace, Banaz.

  41. Anne Murgatroyd says:

    I won’t forget the documentary about you Banaz, your life and your shocking, tragic death. Hope everyone can learn from your story where honour really lies. May you rest in peace.

  42. Bettina Kamper says:

    I really hope from the bottom of my soul that those men will never ever have peace. It somewhat conforts me that they thoroughly dishonoured themselves by their actions. May God bring comfort to your soul.

  43. Chandra Blakeborough says:

    So sad. I watched this whole story yesterday and i will never forget it.

    Banaz you truly are beautiful and safe now you in the heavens xxoo

    Your sister did you good. xxoo

    (crying in sadness of what you went through)

  44. Graham says:

    Having just finished watching the documentary I feel heartbroken. Every time I look at Banaz’s face on the film cover it makes me want to break down and cry. Poor women who did NOTHING wrong and only ever wanted to be happy.

    I would like to find out where she is buried so I can pay my respects to her.

    RIP x

  45. Christine Sherratt says:

    I watched the documentary – Banaz, the love story last night and all day I could not stop thinking about what happened to you – tears filled my eyes. I didnt know you but I felt I did – I too wish that I could have taken the pain you experienced in your young years away, that I could have sheltered and protected you and to never let any of those terrible things happen to you. I just wanted to reach into the television and pull you out of the police interview room and sit you by my side, to look after you. I just wanted to call you and say come to my home, I will protect you. I just wanted to say – we are so sorry Banaz – the system and your parents let you down when you needed them most. But now I just want to say – you are so so beautiful, God bless you, sleep well angel. your memory will live on and on and on.

  46. Serena says:

    saw the documentary and it moved me deeply watching her interview with the police, I felt so sad, R.I.P Banaz xxxx

  47. Russell says:

    I am so sorry Banaz. I am so sorry that you were let down by people who were meant to take care of you. The torment you suffered on earth should be endured by no-one and your death will will ensure that fewer people will suffer death and deprivation. You sought safety, not martyrdom, not recognition, not anything other than the comfort that normal people want. Your terrible death should remind us all that there are terrible people in our midst and that we need to be alert and look after each other. Your death should unite people of all persuasions to the common cause of looking after each other, especially the most vulnerable in our communities.

    I live on the other side of the world and have only just now heard of your fate. Your story saddens me and hurts me but it reminds me that I could do more to help others, especially those least able to help themselves. I wish you were still with us but because you’re not other people will now live better lives. People all around the world are affected by your story and as a result young women all around the world will live better and longer lives. You cannot be forgotten.

    Peace be with you Banaz. Eternal life to you.

  48. Nazli says:

    Dear Banaz,

    I feel sorry for what happened to you..
    I keep reading your name, we share half of our names with eachother.

    I hope you found peace beautiful

  49. Mia says:

    Banaz iam speaking to u as if u are alive, to me your energy and courage in the face of so much pain is still on earth. How the police meant to save you led u to your death can live with themselves is beyond me. May they see your young face your innocent eyes and a heart that dared to dream & may they kneel in shame & fear to their god and to their oath that said to serve and protect. You live in me my sister. See you in paradise benaz. Now sleep peacefully goodnightxx

  50. Patricia Feeney says:

    R.i.p banaz you were truly a beautiful looking girl i could tell by you that you had a heart of gold and all you wanted was to be loved my heart breaks foryou and you will never be forgotten by the world of people who hate what you went through and suffered i no raham loved you deeply you have touched many hearts and we will love you and never forget you rest in peace and have fun with the angels ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  51. jay says:

    I am filled with so many different emotions but the one prominent is that these men will answer to the one they should have honoured more above themselves. And may His hand strike mighty upon your mother and the women who shlall not evade jugement when the time comes. May their souls walk in eternal darkness. May it never rest.
    May her soul rest in peace and may her spirit live so that her suffering never be forgotten

  52. Rekha says:

    I am still crying after watching your story Banaz.
    You went home because you thought you would be safe where your mother was. I’m so happy you had Rahmats love. Respect to the detective you fought for your justice. You could see she was also touched at how special you were. X

  53. Ollie says:

    I just finished watching the documentary on this barbaric killing of such an innocent, beautiful and yet very vulnerable Young woman. I was moved to tears and wish I had known her. I would of rescued you Banaz and I wouldn’t of let anyone hurt you anymore. I’m so so sorry everyone you turned to let you down. They should be utterly ashamed of themselves. I can’t get over what it must of been like in your final moments and it makes me sick with anger towards those who put you through the whole ordeal. I hope you are resting in peace and your soul is free from any pain. Sleep well Banaz may your memory live on. Xxx

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