A Swiss prosecutor has described as a “veritable slaughter” the vicious axe murder of a 16-year-old girl by her 53-year-old Pakistani Muslim father, who believed his daughter had tarnished her family’s honor.
The charge sheet presented by prosecutor Ulrich Krättli suggests he will call for the accused to be given life in prison, the maximum sentence under Swiss law, when the high-profile case goes to trial on March 14th. He will also be tried for allegedly trying to electrocute his daughter three weeks earlier.
On May 10th 2010, 16-year-old Swera was picked up at a Zurich police station by both her parents. She had been held there by police after she was arrested for a minor theft.
Once back at their apartment in Höngg, on the outskirts of the city, a heated argument broke out between father and daughter. The girl said she wanted to leave home permanently and started to pack her things. She then went down to the basement of the building to get a pair of shoes. While she was gone, her father allegedly retrieved an axe from the balcony and hid it in the bedroom he shared with his wife.
Once she was back in the apartment, the girl went into her parents’ bedroom to pick up some of her belongings. When she bent down to get some things from the wardrobe, her father hit her with the axe on the back of the head, the prosecutor says. The man struck his daughter 19 times with the axe: 12 times with the blade and seven with the blunt end.
The teenager did not die instantly, but lay on the ground in agonising pain for several minutes until her life finally slipped away. The father left the axe between her legs, pointing to the feet, a gesture Krättli does not want to interpret, but that usually has sexual connotations and expresses the motives behind the murder, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reports.
After washing his hands, he left the apartment and called his wife to say he had killed his daughter. Fifteen minutes later, he called the police, who arrested him shortly after near his apartment.
In an interview with newspaper Blick,Swera’s boyfriend explained that the girl’s parents had strongly disapproved of her relationship with him, primarily because he was a Christian. The boy said she was desperate to get away from her parents and had already sought help from a local youth shelter.
According to the prosecutor, the defendant killed his daughter because she had violated his archaic values and had brought shame on the family. Krättli says the Pakistani man had planned the killing “in cold blood”.
On April 20th, the pair had argued after the girl’s father suspected she had been smoking marijuana. Seizing his chance while she was in the bathroom, he pushed her into the bathtub, turned on the tap and threw a hairdryer into the water.
He wanted to electrocute her, the prosecutor alleges, but his attempt failed because of an in-built security system in the appliance to prevent electric shocks upon contact with water. On that occasion, the 16-year-old girl managed to get away before running to a friend’s home in her wet clothes.