Afghan brothers charged with murdering their sister 'because of her Western way of life'

Afghan brothers charged with murdering their sister 'because of her Western way of life'

Two Afghan brothers have been charged in Germany with murdering their sister, whom they allegedly wanted to punish because of her Western way of life.

The men, identified only as Sayed H., 26, and Seyed H., 22, due to Germany's privacy laws, are accused of luring their 34-year-old sister Maryam H. to a meeting in Berlin on July 13, before choking and strangling her and cutting her throat.

German prosecutors say that the brothers dismembered the mother-of-two's body and then took a taxi to a train station later that day with her body in a suitcase. 

The brothers are accused of travelling to Bavaria by train before driving to a wooded area close to Sayed's home near Holzkirchen, where they buried Maryam's body in a shallow grave. 

After her body was found, an autopsy concluded that she had died from head and neck trauma. 

Prosecutors claimed the men wanted to punish their sister 'for her Western-oriented way of life, which did not correspond to their archaic ideas of honour and morals and their image of women.

In particular, prosecutors added, they weren't prepared to accept that she had divorced her husband, to whom she was married when she was 16, after violent incidents and had a new relationship.

The brothers have given contradictory accounts about what was inside the suitcase, which prosecutors claim contained Maryam's body.

While Seyed claimed that boxing gloves and dumbbells were in the bag, his brother Sayad contradicted him and claimed there were clothes and heavy class objects inside, reports BZ Berlin newspaper. 

Seyed also reportedly identified himself and his brother as the men captured in CCTV footage at the train station in Berlin.

During the interrogation, the Afghan brothers were quoted as telling investigators: 'We treat women differently than you do. A woman is like a servant who does the housework, cooks and looks after the children.' 

Maryam was said to live in constant fear of death, according to German media reports, and locals who lived close to the mother-of-two said her brothers repeatedly put pressure on her and tried to cut off her contact with other people.  

Along with the children’s father, the family moved from their native Afghanistan to Germany after applying for asylum in 2013.

After her marriage broke down, Maryam divorced her then-husband under German law in 2017. However, he reportedly refused to annul the marriage under Islamic law.

According to local media, when Maryam's brothers found out she had met someone new, they began to intrude in her life, forcing her to wear a headscarf and forbidding her from leaving her accommodation without a male escort.

The brothers had allegedly lured their sister from her temporary accommodation in the capital Berlin, where she was living with her children, and killed her because she had given up following Islamic practices, which they claimed harmed the family's honour. 

Maryam's ex-husband also threatened her with death, leading to a restraining order being taken out on him.

Investigators claim Seyed had lured his sister to meet him on July 13 by claiming he had found an apartment for her and the children. She was declared missing the same day.

Local media said Sayed's asylum claim was rejected in 2016, but he subsequently attempted suicide, leading to him receiving psychiatric treatment and thereby avoiding deportation.

Seyed, who lives on benefits, was fined 600 euros (£505) for causing bodily harm in February last year, according to reports.

The two brothers have been in custody since August 3 and face life imprisonment if convicted of murder.