Honour killing story

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Maria Spagnolo
born: 1968
stabbed to death: 22 September 2012
Residence: Cologne
Origin: Sicily
Children: 1 son (17 years), 1 daughter (18 years)
Perpetrator: her husband Calogero (47 years)
María and Calogero come from Sicily, have been married for almost 20 years and have two children. In 2012 Maria will divorce and start a new relationship. Calogero will not accept this.

After a home leave in Sicily, Calogero drives to his ex-wife's apartment in Cologne-Buchforst. He stabs her 56 times. Then he calls the police and his children. A behaviour that is not atypical of a murder of honour: the perpetrator wants to show the world his power. Maria dies in hospital. Calogero is arrested in her apartment.

The trial will start at the Cologne Court in June 2013. The perpetrator is silent. In July, he is sentenced to life imprisonment for murder by the Cologne Regional Court.

Comment: It is said in the media that Calogero was inspired by an honour killing in his hometown in Sicily. The historical influence of Islam on Sicily is greater than in the rest of Italy.

What is an honour killing?

An honour killing is a murder in the name of honour. If a brother murders his sister to restore family honour, it is an honour killing. According to activists, the most common reasons for honour killings are as the victim:

Questions about honour killings

  • refuses to cooperate in an arranged marriage.

  • wants to end the relationship.

  • was the victim of rape or sexual assault.

  • was accused of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

Human rights activists believe that 100,000 honour killings are carried out every year, most of which are not reported to the authorities and some are even deliberately covered up by the authorities themselves, for example because the perpetrators are good friends with local policemen, officials or politicians. Violence against girls and women remains a serious problem in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Serbia and Turkey.

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