Sahar, Geeti Shafia
A black Nissan Sentra
was found sunken in the water at the Kingston Mills
lock of the Rideau Canal. Inside the vehicle,
the police would find the bodies of four women. Rona
Amir Mohammad was 58, Zanaib was 19, Sahar was 17
and the youngest was Geeti who was 13 years old.
Though the police at first thought it had been an
accident, they would three sisters and their
step-mother had been killed.
The women were the daughters and first wife of
Mohammad Shafia, who was 58 years old at that time
second wife, who he married though he was still
married to Rona, Tooba Mohammed Yahya, who was 41
old. Mohammad had taken a second wife after he found
out that Rona was unable to have children, he would
on to have seven children with his second wife,
though Rona would raise the children as though they
own. Mohammad had a son, Hamed, who was 29 years old
at the time.
In Canada, Rona was introduced to people as the Aunt
of the children in the household. Family members
that Rona was in a marriage that had no love and had
turned abusive and that repeated requests for a
were ignored by her husband. It was reported that
Rona was in fear for her life shortly before her
death and Yahya had supposedly told her:
are a slave, you are a servant"
Mohammad had all of the papers that Rona needed to
prove her identity and that kept her believing that
was not allowed to move to live with relatives. It
was also reported that the eldest of their children
her father by dating a Pakistani boy and he was
overheard to say that he was going to kill Zainab.
In April of 2009, Zainab ran away from home and
Hamed called police two times that day to demand
that an investigation be done. That same day, the
siblings were afraid and asked a stranger to call
the police. There were three calls made to police
that day. Three days after the calls were made,
Montreal Police, Quebec's child
and family services and a women's shelter were all
involved with the family. The family was said to be
of how their father was going to react to the news
of his daughter running away from home. After the
there had been violence as well as abuse in the
home, they were questioned alone, by the police.
Getting told police of an incident that week where
the children had been late getting home and her
pulled her hair and slapped her in the face and that
Hamed had used his fist to hit her in the eye. The
heard that Mohammed often threatened to kill the
children. Sahar said that she had been slapped by
and that there was violence towards all of her
siblings. At that point, both girls said they wanted
to leave the home.
When Mohammed came home during the investigation,
the children stopped talking to the police and they
started to cry. Mohammed began to talk to the
children in a language the police did not
At around 6:00 p.m. a supervisor alerted child and
family services and about 9:00 p.m. a worker showed
up at the home and spoke to the children with their
parents in the room, the children didn't have
anything to say at that point and the worker made
the decision to continue the investigation the
following Monday. The police and the worker left the
home at about 11:00 p.m.. The children were later
interviewed while they were at school and Geeti
asked to placed in a foster home telling the worker
that she felt she had no freedom and she wanted to
be like her friends.
Geeti told the worker about the abuse in her home,
but the worker felt she was being evasive. Sahar
repeated what she had told the officers and he asked
about her clothing and makeup which seemed to imply
that she had some freedom of choice. Sahar told him
that she would wash off the makeup and change
clothes before going home from school. The other
children changed their stories and at that point, it
was decided by Det Lefebvre that no crimes were
committed and the file on the family was closed,
though she did send it to family services so that
they could investigate further.
In the Passages Shelter where Zainab was living and
interview was done and after she told the workers
there about the violence in the home and having been
taken out of school, it was decided that there was
some family violence taking place and she was
assigned a case worker by the name of Rachel Laberge
Malett, though the women had little contact with
Zainab. Notes were read about the case and it was
known that Zainab was not comfortable with the idea
of going home to get her identification papers,
without a police escort. That was the end of things
and on May 1, Zainab went home without explanation.
By June 30, the four women would be dead.
On July 23, 2009, Mohammad, Tooba and their son
Hamed were arrested and charge with four counts of
first- degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder
under the guise of honor killings. Selection for the
jury began on October 11, 2009 and the trial was set
to begin on October 20, 2009. Ontario Superior
Judge, Robert Maranger presided over the trial and
after 15 hours of deliberations, on January 29,
2012, the jury came back with their guilty verdicts
of guilty for all four of the counts of first degree
murder, for Mohammed, Tooba and Hamed. An automatic
sentence of life in prison without parole for 25
years in the automatic sentence for first degree
murder and they were all sentenced accordingly.
In January of 2012, Mohammed Shafia, Tooba Yahya and
Hamed were found guilty of four counts of
murder. When the verdict was read, each of them
stated that they were innocent in the killings:
are not criminal, we are not murderer, we didn't
commit the murder and this is unjust"
am not a murderer and I am a mother, a mother"
did not drown my sisters any where"
Judge Maranger sentenced each of them to life
in prison with no parole for at least 25 years.
After the verdict was read, Hamed seemed to fall
onto the railing of the prisoner box and his father
put his on his shoulder and then moved it to his
head while Tooba seemed to be crying, while the
judge spoke to them:
have each been convicted of the planned and
deliberate murder of four members of your
a verdict clearly supported by the evidence at
this trial. It
is difficult to
conceive of a more despicable, more heinous
crime. The apparent reason behind these cold
blooded, shameful murders was that the four
completely innocent victims offended your
completely twisted concept of honor. That has
absolutely no place in any civilized society"
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