FEATURES

Written In Blood: Episode 1 - The Honour Killing
By James Whittington, Sunday 3rd September 2017

In this episode, Simon Toyne travels to South London to unravel the unbelievable story of Banaz Mahmod–a woman murdered by members of her own family.

Banaz Mahmod was an Iraqi Kurdish woman who moved to the UK at age 10. When she was 17, Banaz was forced into an arranged marriage with a significantly older man who physically and sexually abused her. When she was 19, she left him and moved back to the family home in Wimbledon. She reported to the police several times that she was being followed by her family, even telling the officers that “if anything happens to me, it’s them”. Without her family’s knowledge, she started seeing Rahmut Sulemani until they were spotted kissing outside of a tube station.

Her father was involved in the first attack; he told her not to turn around as he put on rubber gloves and protective footwear. After her father left the room Banaz managed to escape the house, running to a neighbour’s house where in her desperation to get their attention, broke a window and cut herself on the glass. She then ran to a local café where the staff called an ambulance. While in hospital, Rahmut recorded her account of the attack.

The officer who interviewed Banaz after this attack dismissed her account of the incident, deeming it a fantasy and instead wanted to charge her for breaking the window.

She returned to her family home knowing that wherever she went they would eventually find her. The second attack was successful. Each man involved, her father, uncle, two cousins and a fifth man raped her before murdering her. They then put in her body into a suitcase before transporting her to Birmingham where they buried the suitcase in the back garden of a derelict house. Rahmut had to enter a witness protection programme to ensure his safety, as did Banaz’s older sister who testified against the family members who raped and killed Banaz.

Three years after Banaz’s murder Omar Hussain and Mohamad Saleh Ali were extradited from Iraq and charged after they fled the UK following the murder. They were then given life sentences. In 2016 Rahmut committed suicide, feeling that he would never get over her death. Police were sent to his home after Rahmut sent a text message to his neighbour saying he was going to kill himself. While he was found alive, he died in hospital five days later.


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