The German government has charged two Afghan brothers with murdering their sister “because of her Western way of life.”
Due to Germany’s privacy laws, the men have only been identified as Sayed H., 26, and Seyed H., 22, and are accused of luring their 34-year-old sister Maryam H. to a meeting in Berlin on July 13, before choking, strangling, and cutting her throat.
Prosecutors claim the brothers dismembered their sister’s body, a mother-of-two, and then took a taxi to a train station later that day with her body in a suitcase as punishment for her western lifestyle.
CCTV footage appears to show Sayed and Seyed loading a black duffle bag purchased from Primark for 60 euros (£50) onto a train at Berlin’s Südkreuz train station.
The brothers are accused of taking a train to Bavaria before driving to a wooded area near Sayed’s home near Holzkirchen and burying Maryam’s body in a shallow grave.
An autopsy revealed that she died as a result of head and neck trauma after her body was discovered.
Prosecutors claimed the brothers wanted to punish their sister “for her Western-oriented way of life, which did not correspond to their archaic ideas of women.”
Prosecutors said they were unwilling to accept that she had divorced her husband, to whom she had been married since she was 16, after violent incidents and had a new relationship.
Maryam and her two children, a 10-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son, fled to Germany as asylum seekers from Afghanistan in 2013.
The brothers have given contradictory accounts of what was inside the suitcase, which prosecutors say contained Maryam’s body.
While Seyed claimed there were boxing gloves and dumbbells in the bag, his brother Sayad claimed there were clothes and heavy class objects inside, according to the BZ Berlin newspaper.
Seyed was also said to have identified himself and his brother as the men captured on CCTV at the Berlin train station.
During questioning, the Afghan brothers were quoted as saying to investigators, ‘We treat women differently than you do.’ ‘A woman is like a servant who does housework, cooks, and cares for the children.’
‘Maryam was a good person,’ one source told BZ. She has been terrified since her divorce because her brothers have terrorized her for religious reasons.’
‘There are men who are just crazy,’ said an Afghan woman who shared Maryam’s quarters. I’m also concerned about what might happen to me because I don’t wear a headscarf.’
Maryam divorced her then-husband under German law in 2017 after their marriage fell apart. However, he allegedly refused to annul the marriage in accordance with Islamic law.
When Maryam’s brothers discovered she had met someone new, they began to meddle in her life, according to local media.
They then forced her to wear a headscarf and prohibited her from leaving her lodgings without a male escort.
The brothers allegedly lured their sister from her temporary residence in Berlin’s capital, where she was living with her children, and murdered her because she had abandoned Islamic practices, which they claimed harmed the family’s honour.
Maryam’s ex-husband also threatened her with death, prompting a restraining order to be issued against him.
The two brothers have been detained since August 3 and face life in prison if found guilty of murder.