Last week, the Parole Board of Canada granted a five hour temporary escorted absence to Tooba Yahya, the native Afghanistan woman convicted of participating in the murder of her three daughters and her husband’s first wife in 2012.
This heinous crime was described in the court and the media at the time as “honour killings.” There was evidence introduced that their father Mohammad Shafia, and son Hamed were angry that the girls – Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13 – were becoming too “westernized.”
The three were all convicted of four counts of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. One could argue whether that was satisfactory for four murders, but that’s a different question.
The more appropriate question is if someone sentenced to life in prison just seven years ago be able to get a day pass?
The other important question in all of this relates to the concept of honour killings, anathema to the vast majority of Canadians and to Canadian values.
The Parole Board seemed to think that there was little chance of Yahya reoffending because she had already, with her husband, killed all her daughters. I suppose that’s true to a point, but it totally misses the point of one of the primary principles of sentencing in Canadian justice, that of deterrence to the community.
When a judge pronounces sentence on a convicted criminal, they are supposed to consider three things; the punishment of the person convicted, the pubic interest and, perhaps more importantly, especially in the case of honour killings, is deterrence.
Our courts need to send the message to newcomers that whatever may have been acceptable in the societies they came from, Canadian values are such that honour killings are not acceptable in Canada and anyone who commits such an act should be treated in the most severe manner available to the court.
This is deterrence to others in the community who might otherwise think what was okay in Islamabad or Kabul would be okay in Toronto. It is not.
And, at the end of the day, this is the problem with unimpeded immigration from third world nations.
As Canadians, we have certain values that considers the worth of all human life. We believe that misogyny has no place in our society let alone the patriarchy mentality that says a father can decide whether a child lives or dies.
Anyone who comes to this country needs to understand this and, in my opinion, agree with it if we are to let them into this country.
If this is unacceptable, then don’t come here.
Our society has been developing for over 150 years, more if you consider the years before Confederation. Our morals and values have developed and anyone who wants to come here should do so eyes wide open.
We welcome folks from all cultures around the world and our society is better for it. But, there are aspects of other societies that are not conducive to Canada and honour killing is chief among them.