LONDON -- A Sikh matriarch and her son were convicted Thursday in London of arranging the death of her daughter-in-law in a so-called honor killing.
Surjit Kaur Athwal never returned to Britain after a trip to India with her mother-in-law, Bachan Kaur Athwal, in 1998 for a family wedding. Prosecutors said the older woman arranged to have her daughter-in-law strangled and her body thrown into a river.
After the jury delivered its verdict, Jaswant Narwal, Head of the Crown Prosecution Service Central Criminal Court trials unit, said the case was especially difficult because there was no forensic evidence, not even a body. He said Bachan Kaur Athwal and Sukhdave Athwal were convicted entirely on the testimony of two relatives brave enough to come forward.
"Bachan Kaur Athwal, mother-in-law, grandmother and matriarch of the Athwal family together with her son enlisted the support of their relatives in India to carry out this appalling murder, simply because they felt Surjit's behavior was damaging their family honor," Narwal said. "They wanted to 'get rid' of Surjit and thought it would be easier to do this in India and even thought they had got away with it."
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