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On Oct. 20, 2009, Noor al-Maleki was at the Department of Economic Security (DES) in Peoria, Ariz., helping Amal Khalaf fill out paperwork for food stamps. Noor was living with Khalaf, a maternal figure whom she’d known since childhood. Noor was estranged from her parents, Iraqi immigrants, who were displeased with what they called her “American ways”. Her father, Faleh al-Maleki, threatened to physically harm her after she rejected a marriage he arranged for her. Noor lived in a constant state of anxiety and fear. This day was no different.
After leaving DES, the two women decided to go to a nearby Mexican restaurant for a drink. They were making their way across the parking lot when Khalaf spotted a gray jeep bearing down on them. Just as she raised her hands and shouted “Stop!” the vehicles plowed into the two women. Khalaf was knocked unconscious and woke to find strangers huddled around her. But she could not see Noor, who was crumbled on the grasping for air and bleeding from her mouth. She suffered a head injury and multiple facial fractures, among other injuries. She never regained consciousness.
On Feb. 22, Faleh al-Maleki was convicted of killing his daughter, committing aggravated assault against Khalaf and leaving the scene of a crime. His defense attorney argued that he had intended to spit on Khalaf and accidentally ran over the two women. Prosecutors had pressed a first-degree murder charge. They characterized his actions as an “honor killing,” a controversial term that refers to a family member or members killing a relative, usually a girl or young woman, whose behavior is judged to have tarnished the family honor.
The jury found Faleh guilty of the lesser charge of second-degree murder, finding that he didn’t plan the act in advance. They also found the existence of aggravating factors, which means he could face up to nearly 46 years in prison. The evidence presented at trial made clear, however, that Faleh was influenced by a warped sense that Noor had impugned his family’s honor.
CBS 48 Hour Mystery – “A Family Honor” examines the circumstances surrounding this tragic case.
The article above provides information and excerpts extracted from: An American Honor Killing: One Victim’s Story -By Nadya Labi Peoria | TIME
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