Sadia Sheikh, 20, Belgium
Sadia Sheikh was shot three times by her brother on October 22nd, 2007 and later died in hospital. The 20-year-old was in her final year of law school. Sadia was killed for refusing an arranged marriage.
Sadia moved out of her parents’ house and went to University to further her academic studies while moving in with a Belgian. While studying, she feared for her life and had been in contact with the Centre for the prevention of Conjugal violence. In a statement the centre said, “Our staff supported this young woman who wished to escape a coerced marriage. She wanted to study and live the life of a free and dignified woman”.
Sadia’s father Tariq Mahmood Sheikh, aged 61 was born in Pakistan and had an arranged marriage with Zahida Parveen Sariya, aged 69. They believed their daughter had brought ‘dishonour’ upon the family’s name by refusing to comply with their arranged marriage plans for her.
On the 22nd of October, the family led Sadia to believe they wanted to reconcile with her. When she came back to her parents house, she was confronted by her 27-year-old brother Moussadar who shot Sadia and her 22-year old sister Sariya. Moussadar subsequently confessed to killing Sadia.
In November 2011 the family were put on trial in Brussels in a landmark case. The prosecution became known as Belgium’s first honour-based case trial. When asked about the killing of Sadia, Moussadar remarked, “I didn’t want to take her life, but to make her feel as bad as I felt”. The Belgian court found the parents guilty of orchestrating the killing and of ordering their son to carry out the shooting. The father was sentenced to 25 years in prison, the mother to 20 years in prison, and the brother to 15 years in prison. Sariya, although wounded during the encounter, received 5 years in prison because of her involvement in the premeditated murder of Sadia.
During those dark days, you found a solid strength to hold on to.
During times of lovelessness, you found love within you.
In your eyes there are sparks my dear, the ones that light up fires of change.
In this world that couldn’t save you.
Around you presence we see love my dear, and it will embrace us into believing,
That hope will someday bring change.
The world lost life when it lost you,
But it carries the light that you spread …when you flew.
Sadia Sheikh (1987-2007)
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