03/08/2012 12:21 BST | Updated 03/08/2012 12:27 BST

Shafilea Ahmed Murder Trial: Praise For Sister Who Testified About Killing She Witnessed

The bravery of Shafilea Ahmed's younger sister, who witnessed the teenager's brutal murder at the hands of her parents, has been praised by lawyers.

Chief crown prosecutor Paul Whittaker, speaking after the judge sentenced Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed to life in prison, said Alesha's decision to testify against her parents was "crucial to our case and the result is a testament to her courage over the last two years."

Alesha, just 15 at the time of the murder, described in court how the "tiny and weak" Shafilea was pushed on to the settee, beat her and had a thin white plastic bag stuffed into her mouth.

shafilea ahmed

Teenager Shafilea Ahmed who was murdered by her parents

Whittaker said: "Despite the best efforts of the defendants to derail the investigation into her death by subverting witnesses including their own children, the Crown Prosecution Service and Cheshire Police have worked tirelessly to gather the evidence and present it to a jury.

Mr Whittaker also urged other victims of abuse to come forward.

He said: "There are many ways to describe what happened to Shafilea: child abuse, domestic violence and honour-based violence being just three.

"However you choose to characterise it, the CPS is committed to convicting perpetrators such as the Ahmeds.

"But to do that, we need victims and other family members to break ranks and give evidence as Alesha Ahmed did. If you do come forward, this case has shown that the justice system will not let you down.

"The word 'shame' has been heard many times during the course of this trial, but the shame is not on Shafilea, it is on her parents.

"Why did they abuse her? Why did they kill her? Put simply, it was because she challenged their regime and refused to conform to their expectations.

"She wanted to choose how she lived her life and who she married, choices that are fundamental freedoms for any citizen of the United Kingdom.

"There is no honour in murder and Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed are now starting life sentences for abusing and killing their daughter."


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