January, 2011

HAMBURG, Germany, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- An Afghan-born man has been charged with murdering his teenage sister in Germany because she lived a Western lifestyle.

"I only want to talk" -- that was Ahmad Obeidi's promise. Yet after luring his sister Morsal, 16, into a late-night meeting in a Hamburg parking lot, 24-year-old Ahmad took out a knife and stabbed her 23 times. Ahmad fled, and Morsal died an hour later.

Morsal had been a lively teenager who did community service and liked to wear skirts and makeup -- normal for a girl her age in Hamburg, one of Germany's most multicultural cities.

Yet her brother did not agree with her lifestyle. Ahmad, who has a history of criminal violence, repeatedly beat her, and in May 2009 arranged the meeting to murder her -- at least that's how the prosecution sees it.

Ahmad's lawyer claims his client killed in the heat of the moment, citing a psychologist's opinion that said Ahmad has diminished criminal responsibility because of his extremely low intelligence.

The so-called honor killing has enraged women's rights activists. One group staged a demonstration in front of the Hamburg courthouse where the case opened Tuesday. It wanted to direct attention to cases like Morsal's and that of Hatun Surucu, a Berlin woman of Turkish background who was killed by her brother in 2005 for her unwillingness to accept the traditional customs her family wanted to impose on her.

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