Saman: 'their culture' as a mitigating factor

The girl's marriage was 'arranged and not forced' and in the judgement 'the culture of the offender must also be taken into account': the reasons for the sentence (signed by female judges) for the brutal murder of the young Pakistani girl leave one bewildered. As well as the mother's self-sexism that would be the material executor of the crime. At this rate, according to Unicef projections, girls will continue to be sold to men for at least the next 300 years
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Saman: la "loro cultura" come attenuante

Pictured is a poster with Saman's face composed of photos of many women victims of male violence.

The story of Saman Abbas is an open wound. Killed by her family three years ago, her concealed body found more than a year after her death. At the beginning of this year, the funeral, with great public participation. A few days ago came the grounds for the judgment of the first-instance trial of Saman's family last December: life sentence to parents Shabbar Abbas and Nazia Shaheen (fugitive in Pakistan), 14 years to uncle Danish Hasnain, premeditation excluded.

We cannot remain silent on some of the words put on paper by the judges and reported in the newspapers.

We read for instance that the marriage that the parents wanted to impose on Saman -for which she had denounced them- according to the Court was 'combined and not forced'.

And of course, in excluding abject and futile motives, the Court warns us that 'the culture of the offender must also be taken into account'.

This interpretation leaves one dumbfounded. Forced marriages are an issue feminists in those countries have always fought against, often in international indifference, and unfortunately also in indifference of so many women in institutionsthose who may call themselves feminists.

Many girls, often sold to future 'husbands' as children, before being handed over to man they set themselves on fire (see Virginia Nesi's investigation 'The child brides' on 7 of 12 April 2024). It is still happening and will continue to happen, warns Too Young to Wed, one of the associations dealing with the problem in Afghanistan, adjacent to Pakistan, where Saman was born.

And it is not only happening in those faraway countries, but also in Europe and, we now know, in Italy. Indeed, in our country the phenomenon is growing.

Girls will continue to be sold for another 300 years, estimate the statistics of Unicef. Perhaps even more, and in ever greater numbers, given the desire to expressly protect that 'culture' (those men) who sell girls, which considers women a bargaining chip and beasts of burden to be exploited as slaves at the same time for domestic work, for sex and for reproduction: this is the fate of the girls sold in these marriages which, in the words of the court, would be 'combined and unforced'.

Finally, the document suggests that the material perpetrator of the murder may have been Saman's mother, while the father appears "troubled and conflicted". in the video in which the parents and uncle are seen accompanying the girl to her death.

A chilling hypothesis that brings to mind the 2011 crime of Maria Concetta Cacciolaa girl from Calabria born into a family from the 'ndrangheta who chose to cooperate with the police and died from swallowing muriatic acid. Investigators suspected that the acid had been poured down her throat by her mother.then only convicted of ill-treatment together with the victim's father and brother.

Both stories tell of patriarchal 'cultures' in which the family is a toxic environment and women are made enemies of each other (self-sexism). On Cultural parallels between radical Islam and our mafia there would be much to say, but that is another story.

Maria Celeste


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