The Italian Almanac

Hina Saleem

30 Years for Honour Killing

A Brescia judge sentenced three Pakistani men to 30 years in jail for the 'honour killing' of their young female relative. It was Italy's first conviction for such a crime. The sentence was the longest possible in the fast-track process adopted in the trial. At a full-length trial the men would probably have been given life imprisonment, Italy's ultimate penalty. A fourth man was given two years and eight months for helping hide the body of 20-year-old Hina Saleem, who was murdered by her father and two brothers-in-law last year.

Saleem was stabbed 28 times on the third floor of her family home in the northern town of Sarezzo and buried in the garden. Her Italian boyfriend, with whom she was living at the time, found her body the next day after she failed to return home or answer her phone. According to the prosecution, Saleem was deliberately lured back to the family home following a meeting of male relatives, who decided to punish her for bringing shame upon the family.

The defence said Saleem's father, Mohammed, killed her in the heat of an argument, after she drew a knife on him and demanded money. It said the two brothers-in-law were sitting downstairs at the time and knew nothing of the argument until afterwards.

Hina Saleem, together with her mother and sisters, left Pakistan six years ago, joining her father who settled in Italy in 1996. Her boyfriend, 30-year-old Giuseppe Tempini, told investigators she had been arguing with her family for weeks before the murder. She had apparently refused to marry the man her family wanted and would not return to Pakistan with her mother and sisters.

Tempini burst into tears when the sentence was read out, while Saleem's mother, who was in Pakistan at the time of the murder, started screaming at the judge, and was eventually taken away by an ambulance. Commenting on the sentence, Mohammed Saleem's lawyer Alberto Bordone said: ''I was expecting this, as was my client. I will certainly appeal the decision''.