They are said to have murdered their sister, then taken the body by train to Bavaria in a trolley case and buried it there in a hole in the ground. Around a year and a half after the violent death of the Afghan woman, the verdict in the trial against her brothers is expected in Berlin today.

The men are said to have murdered the 34-year-old because the mother of two wanted to lead her life according to her own ideas. According to the indictment, this contradicted the Afghan family’s moral standards.

Prosecutor demands life imprisonment

The Berlin public prosecutor is convinced that the brothers, who are now 24 and 27 years old, lured the woman into a trap and killed her in July 2021. About three weeks later, the dead woman was discovered in a hole in the ground near where the 27-year-old lived in Bavaria. The prosecutor has each requested life imprisonment for murder against the accused.

The older brother had confessed to killing his sister during the trial, but described a kind of accident in a dispute. According to the 27-year-old, his brother was not involved. His lawyers asked for a guilty verdict of assault and death and a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The defense attorneys for the younger defendant pleaded for acquittal.

Debate on the term “honor killing”

The case made headlines and triggered a debate about the term “honor killing” and the failed integration of refugees. The woman and the brothers came to Germany from Afghanistan a few years ago. She was divorced from her Afghan husband.

The public prosecutor assumes that the brothers did not agree with the development of their divorced sister. They would have denied her “the right to lead her life according to her own ideas,” said the prosecutor in her plea after more than ten months of negotiations. The co-plaintiff’s attorney, who is representing the children of those killed, said he believed it was “about power and control over women.”

Experts assume a high number of unreported cases

“Violence in the name of honor is often decided, committed or even covered up by a collective of people,” explained Elisabeth Gernhardt of the women’s rights organization Terre des Femmes. Your organization uses the controversial term “honor killing” to make it clear that these are acts that are primarily committed against women in the context of patriarchal family groups or societies in order to restore the family or man’s honor that the perpetrator believes has been violated.

According to Gerhardt, Terre des Femmes has so far researched 7 victims (4 women, 3 men) of attempted or completed “honor killings” nationwide for the year 2022. However, this number could still increase. In general, a high number of unreported cases can be assumed. For 2021, the organization researched 19 cases (10 women, 9 men).