Surjit Athwal, 28, UK.
Surjit Kaur Athwal sought to end an unhappy marriage by divorce. In 1998 her mother-in-law and husband took her to India under false pretences where she was killed. She had two children. Her husband and mother in law have been convicted of her murder. Surjit’s 70 year old mother-in-law Bachan Kaur Athwal was given a minimum of 20 years in prison, while her 43-year-old son and Surjit’s husband Sukhdave Athwal will not be eligible for parole for 27 years.
This landmark trial and sentencing was the result of more than eight years of constant, tireless campaigning by Surjit’s brother Jagdeesh Singh along with the excellent work of DCI Clive Driscoll and DC Palbinder Singh of Metropolitan Police, who led Surjit’s investigation and brought it to a successful criminal prosecution.
Judge Giles Forrester described the murder as “unspeakable”, saying: “This was a heinous crime characterised by great wickedness. “There was no motive worthy of the name. You did it because you thought she had brought shame on your family. “You decided that the so-called honour of your family was worth more than the life of this young woman.”
In the palm of her hands
Lay white flowers freshly picked
Along their morning dew,
Bathed in your name.
The nightingale tonight will sing,
The melody of the earth being just
Rain dances with the red earth,
For those who stood by your innocence.
For those who stood again the hate,
Who stood by you.
Honor is for those who stand unbroken in the name of justice.
It is for them , as for you…the earth rejoices.
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