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Murder Trial Begins for Iraqi Immigrant Accused of Daughter's 'Honor Killing'

Jan 24, 2011 – 2:10 PM
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Lisa Flam

Lisa Flam Contributor

She had shunned an arranged marriage and gone to live with her boyfriend. And Noor Almaleki ended up dying in an "honor killing" carried out by her own father, prosecutors say.

Faleh Almaleki, who had moved the family from Iraq to Arizona, apparently felt his 20-year-old daughter had become too Westernized, according to prosecutors. He allegedly crashed his Jeep into his daughter and her boyfriend's mother in 2009 as they walked across a parking lot. The daughter died from her injuries after two weeks in a coma. The mother lived.
Faleh Almaleki
Peoria PD / AP
Prosecutors charge that Faleh Almaleki carried out an "honor killing" by slamming his Jeep into his 20-year-old daughter in 2009. His trial began Monday in Phoenix.

Almaleki, 50, goes on trial today on charges of murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault and leaving the scene of a serious accident, after weeks of plea negotiations failed, The Associated Press reported. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Almaleki said he was angry at his daughter for becoming "too Westernized" and believed she was acting against Iraqi and Muslim values, Jay Davies, a spokesman for the Peoria, Ariz., police department, told Reuters. Police say she didn't want the arranged marriage and was living with her boyfriend and his parents.

Prosecutors called the death an"honor killing" after Almaleki said his daughter brought dishonor to the family, the AP said. He wanted his daughter to stay true to Iraqi traditions, but she wanted the life of a typical American young woman.

He regularly harassed his daughter and told the boyfriend's family that if she didn't move out of their home, "something bad was going to happen," the AP said, citing a court document.

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Honor killings -- the practice of killing a relative over perceived shame -- have been documented by the United Nations in Egypt, Iraq, Turkey and other countries. They are rare in the U.S.

The defense has not commented on its strategy.

A year ago, Almaleki's previous lawyer said the defendant didn't understand the court proceedings and may need a mental health checkup, The Arizona Republic reported in July. He had been treated at a psychiatric unit as of late December 2009 and had been under suicide watch before that, the paper said.
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