Zainab, Sahar, Geeti Shafia
Rona Amir Mohammad
June 30, 2009

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.


Geeti

    
Sahar                                                                           Zainab

The women were the daughters and first wife of Mohammad Shafia, who was 58 years old at that time and his second wife, who he married though he was still married to Rona, Tooba Mohammed Yahya, who was 41 years old. Mohammad had taken a second wife after he found out that Rona was unable to have children, he would go on to have seven children with his second wife, though Rona would raise the children as though they were her 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 said that Rona was in a marriage that had no love and had turned abusive and that repeated requests for a divorce 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:

"You 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 she was not allowed to move to live with relatives. It was also reported that the eldest of their children had angered
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 very afraid of how their father was going to react to the news of his daughter running away from home. After the children said 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 father had pulled her hair and slapped her in the face and that Hamed had used his fist to hit her in the eye. The police also heard that Mohammed often threatened to kill the children. Sahar said that she had been slapped by her brother 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 all started to cry. Mohammed began to talk to the children in a language the police did not understand.

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 first-degree
murder. When the verdict was read, each of them stated that they were innocent in the killings:

"We are not criminal, we are not murderer, we didn't commit the murder and this is unjust"
Mohammad Shafia

"I am not a murderer and I am a mother, a mother"
Tooba Yahya

"I did not drown my sisters any where"
Hamed

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:

"You have each been convicted of the planned and deliberate murder of four members of your family. It's 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
"

Deaths occurred in Canada

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