Moral Low Ground

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Faleh Almaleki Sentenced to 34 Years Imprisonment for ‘Honor Killing’ of his Americanized Daughter

Faleh Almaleki, an Iraqi immigrant to the United States, didn’t like it at all when his daughter Noor started acting like a young American woman. So he ran her, and her boyfriend’s mother, over with his Jeep Cherokee. Noor, only 20 years old, was killed; Amal Khalaf was seriously injured. Earlier this week, a judge in Phoenix, Arizona sentenced Almaleki to 34 years behind bars for a crime many have called an honor killing.

The Phoenix New Times reports that there was much courtroom drama at Almaleki’s 80-minute sentencing. Deputy county attorney Laura Reckert played a video her office produced “to make sure Noor is not forgotten.” It included photos of the beautiful young woman, literally mowed down in the prime of her life, and an audio recording of the 911 call made from the crime scene, a parking lot at a state office in Peoria.

As the video played, Noor’s boyfriend Marwan Alebadi, who is also Amal Khalaf’s son, leaped to his feet and screamed “I’m fucking pissed he did this shit!” Alebadi was restrained and removed from the courtroom by sheriff’s deputies.

After the interruption, the video continued, with John Lennon’s “Mother” sending shivers through the packed courtroom.

Later, Almaleki took the stand to apologize to Amal Khalaf, his family and judge Roland Steinle. “I wish I was dead and not her,” he said.

Steinle took over half an hour to sentence Almaleki, declaring the case “the most difficult… I’ve had to sentence in my six years on the bench.”

“I cannot believe that a religion would allow [someone] to kill other human beings,” he said, growing emotional as he invoked the Prophet Mohammed, Jesus Christ, Gandhi, and other religious luminaries. Steinle astutely opined that Noor’s killing had little to do with religion and everything to do with a father who believed that “I brought Noor into the world, she’s my property, and I will take her out of the world.”

Judge Steinle also talked about Almaleki’s own remarkable journey from Iraq, where he was imprisoned for five years for insulting Saddam Hussein, to being “reborn” when he was granted asylum in the United States. But, said Steinle, “to me, he became Saddam Hussein in Phoenix. He became the man he fled from.”

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