Pakistani police exhume Italian woman over suspected 'honor killing'

Sergio Conner
April 25, 2018

Pakistani police say they have arrested the father and the uncle suspected in an "honour" killing of a 25-year-old Italian citizen, a woman of Pakistani origin who refused to marry the man they chose for her.

The case came to light this week after friends shared posts about her death on social media, prompting police to investigate.

Police say Ms Cheema's father, Ghulam Mustafa, wanted her to marry a relative in Pakistan.

A local magistrate attended the exhumation of the body, followed by an autopsy after which the woman's body was reburied.

The body of 26-year-old Sana Cheema was exhumed in the presence of a judge, doctor and police officials, ARY News reported.

"After the news of her death spread on social media, police found the family and started an investigation", said police officer Waqar Gujjar.

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"Her parents are innocent, they don't have any role in her death", he said. He said the Cheema family claims that "she fell ill and died within few days despite receiving medical treatment".

Sana Cheema's father, brother and uncle are now being held in custody for questioning but have not been charged, added Gujarat police officer Mudassar Sajjad. Hence the men of the family perfectly planned and killed her and lifted the crime scene as an accident scene. Sana arrived in the country three months ago.

It is to be mentioned here that Sana Cheema was working as a driving instructor in Italy from where she was called to Pakistan.

"We are determined to reach the bottom of the case and are in contact with the Pakistani authorities in this matter", the ministry said.

Almost 1,000 women are killed by relatives every year in Pakistan in so-called "honor killings" for violating conservative Pakistani traditions on love, marriage, and public behavior.

If confirmed, her case will be the second recently publicized honour killing in Punjab. A father and the ex-husband of a British-Pakistani woman, Samia Shahid, were charged in 2016 over her rape and murder.

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