Two brothers from Afghanistan have been charged by the German government for murdering their sister ‘because of her Western way of life’.
The men, identified only as Sayed H., 26, and Seyed H., 22, due to Germany’s privacy laws, allegedly lured their 34-year-old sister Maryam H. to a meeting in Berlin on July 13, before choking, strangling and cutting her throat.
Prosecutors say that the brothers dismembered their sister, a mother-of-two’s body 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 lifting the black duffle bag they had bought from Primark for 60 euros (£50) onto a train at the Südkreuz train station in Berlin.
The brothers are accused of travelling to Bavaria by train before driving to a wooded area close to Sayed’s home near Holzkirchen, where they buried Maryam’s body in a shallow grave.
After her body was found, an autopsy concluded that she had died from head and neck trauma.
Prosecutors claimed the men 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 weren’t prepared to accept that she had divorced her husband, to whom she was married when she was 16, after violent incidents and had a new relationship.
Maryam and her two children – a daughter, 10, and a son, 13 fled to Germany as asylum seekers from Afghanistan in 2013.
The brothers have given differing accounts about what was inside the suitcase, which prosecutors claim contained Maryam’s body.
While Seyed claimed that boxing gloves and dumbbells were in the bag, his brother Sayad contradicted him and claimed there were clothes and heavy class objects inside, reports BZ Berlin newspaper.
Seyed also reportedly identified himself and his brother as the men captured in CCTV footage at the train station in Berlin.
During interrogation, the Afghan brothers were quoted as telling investigators: ‘We treat women differently than you do. A woman is like a servant who does the housework, cooks and looks after the children.’
One source told BZ: ‘Maryam was a good person. She has been very scared since her divorce because her brothers terrorized her for reasons of faith.’
An Afghan woman who lived in the same accommodation as Maryam said: ‘There are men who are just crazy. I’m also afraid that something similar could happen to me because I don’t wear a headscarf either.’
After her marriage broke down, Maryam divorced her then-husband under German law in 2017. However, he reportedly refused to annul the marriage under Islamic law.
According to local media, when Maryam’s brothers found out she had met someone new, they began to intrude in her life.
They then forced her to wear a headscarf and forbade her from leaving her accommodation without a male escort.
The brothers had allegedly lured their sister from her temporary accommodation in the capital Berlin, where she was living with her children, and killed her because she had given up following Islamic practices, which they claimed harmed the family’s honour.
Maryam’s ex-husband also threatened her with death, leading to a restraining order being taken out on him.
The two brothers have been in custody since August 3 and face life imprisonment if convicted of murder.