POLITICS

Notable quotes from the Shafia trial

01/27/2012 04:45 EST | Updated 03/28/2012 05:12 EDT
KINGSTON, Ont. - Mohammad Shafia, 58, his wife Tooba Yahya, 42, and their son Hamed, 21, were found guilty Sunday of four counts each of first-degree murder. They killed Shafia daughters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, as well as Rona Amir Mohammad, 52, Shafia's first wife in a polygamous marriage.

The Crown has characterized it as a so-called honour killing. The trial has heard much colourful, shocking and heartbreaking evidence over the past three months and on Sunday listened to a powerful statement from the judge.

Some conversations and quotes heard at the trial and after the verdicts:

Ontario Superior Court Judge Robert Maranger:

"It is difficult to conceive of a more heinous, more despicable, more honourless crime...The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your completely twisted concept of honour...that has absolutely no place in any civilized society."

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Mohammad Shafia after the verdicts:

"We are not criminal. We are not murderer. We didn't commit the murder and this is unjust."

———

Tooba Yahya after the verdicts:

"Your honourable justice, this is not just. I am not a murderer and I am a mother — a mother!"

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Hamed Shafia after the verdicts:

"Sir, I did not drown my sisters anywhere."

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Crown attorney Gerard Laarhuis after the verdicts:

"This jury found that four strong, vivacious and freedom-loving women were murdered by their own family in the most troubling of circumstances. We all think of these four, wonderful women now who died needless deaths. This verdict sends a very clear message about our Canadian values and the core principles in a free and democratic society that all Canadians enjoy and even visitors to Canada enjoy."

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Yahya and Shafia in a conversation secretly recorded by police days before their arrests.

Yahya: "I know (Zainab) was already done, but I wish two others weren't."

Shafia: "No Tooba, they messed up. There was no other way."

Shafia: "They were treacherous. They betrayed both themselves and to us. Like this woman standing on the side of the road and if you stop the car she would go with you anywhere. For the love of God, Tooba, damnation on this life of ours, on these years of life that we lead. When I tell you to be patient you tell me that it is hard. It isn't harder than watching them every hour with (boyfriend). For this reason, whenever I see those pictures, I am consoled. I say to myself, 'You did well. Would that they come back to life a hundred times for you to do the same again.' That's how hurt I am. Tooba, they betrayed us immensely. They violated us immensely. There can be no betrayal, no treachery, no violation more than this."

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Shafia captured in secret police wiretaps speaking to Yahya or Hamed:

"Even if they hoist me up onto the gallows...nothing is more dear to me than my honour."

"Let's leave our destiny to God and may God never make me, you or your mother honourless. I don't accept this dishonour."

"This is my word to you: Be I dead or alive, nothing in the world is above than your honour."

"I am telling you now and I was telling you before that whoever play with my honour, my words are the same...There is no value of life without honour."

"If we remain alive one night or one year, we have no tension in our hearts, (thinking that) our daughter is in the arms of this or that boy, in the arms of this or that man. God curse their generation. Curse of God on both of them, on their kind. God's curse on them for generations...May the devil (defecate) on their graves. Is that what a daughter should be? Would (a daughter) be such a whore?"

———

Shafia on the stand explaining the phrase "May the devil (defecate) on their graves."

"To me it means that the devil would go out and check with them in graves. If they have done a good thing it would be good. If they did bad it would be up to God what to do."

———

Shafia responding to suggestions he killed his family members in a cross-examination by Crown attorney Laurie Lacelle:

Shafia: "Never, respected lady, we never allow ourselves to do that and Tooba is a mom. That's one of her children, like (if) my son...damage or hurt one of his sisters the mom will be the first to go and complain. How is it possible that someone will do that to his or her children, respected lady?"

Lacelle: "You might do it if you thought they were whores."

Shafia: "No, I will again respected lady will tell you that only Zainab, when she did that, and Sahar, which I didn't know at that time and two others, they were innocent and one was just a child, and nothing, nothing can cause this, that a person...do such a terrible and heinous thing."

———

Shafia on the stand:

"My honour is important for me, but the honour and reputation of a human being, to kill someone you can't regain your reputation and honour. Respected lady, you should know that. In our culture, in our religion, if someone kills his wife or daughter, there is no honourless person more than that person ... When my girls died people think and imagine different ways, but for me, anyone in our culture and our religion, anyone who kill his children or daughter, that person really becomes shameless. That thing doesn't restore honour. Can you tell me in which religion you kill someone and then that person gain honour? I don't call that honour."

———

Yahya to Crown attorney Gerard Laarhuis after he put to her the Crown theory of what happened the night of the deaths:

"No, dear sir. This is what were made in your brain. These are all your stories in the past 2 1/2 years. What I heard in the past 2 1/2 years that say a mom made up a story in order to tell her child, when a mother make a story for her child in order to put her child to sleep ... But this is a court date. People want to know the truth, not to make up stories from your mind."

———

Yahya to Laarhuis on her fifth day of cross-examination:

"Under suspicion you brought a respectful family and put them in jail for 2 1/2 years ... You guys took our freedom and took the freedom of our family and put my son in jail ... Ask them (police) do they know or did they know their proper way of interrogations. I was a lady that came from an Asian country. I had never seen a police station in my life."

———

Yahya to Laarhuis:

"No, sir. We are not murderers. We were a very sincere and collected family. This crime, we will never do such a crime. Don't ever tell me such a thing. I am a mother. If you are a mother then you could have known that what's the heart of a mother for a child...Don't ever tell me that I killed my children, never."

———

Laarhuis at the mid-point of his lengthy cross-examination of Yahya:

"In a tidal wave of inconsistencies I don't care much about this one."

———

Laarhuis cross-examines a surviving Shafia son, who can't be identified:

Laarhuis: "The reason that you're confirming this with Hamed and your mom is because you know there's a problem with that part of the story."

Son: "No, not really. I'm just trying to help them (tell the truth)."

Laarhuis: "That's the remarkable thing about the truth — you don't need to remind people what the truth is."

———

Sahar's boyfriend's aunt, Erma Diaz Medina:

"She told me she would be a dead woman if her parents learned she was going out with Ricardo. If her parents learned about it, they would kill her."

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Zainab Shafia in a text message to her boyfriend Ammar Wahid:

"One thing (I'm) really happy about is that it was my dream to marry u (and) I did it once. Even one day if (something) happens to us like dead I (won't) die with out my dream being full filled ... We had an amazing love story 2gether."

———

An entry in Rona Amir Mohammad's diary:

"He began hitting me. The children came in and said to him, 'Dad, stop hitting her,' and he replied, 'I am beating her up (to punish her) because she swore at your mom and insulted her.' He lied because he didn't want to lose face in front of the children. Whatever I did, if I sat down, if I got up, if I ate anything, there was blame and censure attached to it. In short, he made life a torture for me."

———

Hamed's lawyer Patrick McCann in closing arguments:

"Hamed is guilty of being stupid, morally blameworthy, but other than that, he was not responsible for the girls' death, nor were his parents and (it's) time to put an end to this Kafkaesque 2 1/2 years they've been going through since their arrest."

———

Mohammad Shafia's lawyer Peter Kemp in closing arguments:

"You don't know where, you don't know how, you don't know when that happened, you don't know who would have been involved in that and you don't have an explanation that there was simply no time for a murder."

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Tooba Yahya's lawyer David Crowe in closing arguments:

"The concept of honour killing has no application to the events before you. It should be disregarded in its totality when you're deliberating."

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*Quotes from Shafia, Yahya and Rona have been translated from Dari, a dialect from Afghanistan.