Honour killing story

stabbed to death: August 11, 1985
Residence: Kassel
Origin: Eritrea
Children: Sashu and her husband had several children from both of their first marriages, plus two children together: a boy and a girl 3 days old
Perpetrator: her husband Hangambes Tesfamicael (44 years old at the time of the crime)
Sashu and Hangambes Tesfamicael live in a small Eritrean colony in Kassel. Both have children from their first marriage, plus a son together. There are huge marital problems. Tesfamicael accuses his wife of prostitution, says a newspaper, which probably means he calls her a whore. In the summer of 1985, she flees to a shelter for women.

An Eritrean council meets and urges Sashu to return to her husband.

The mediators are not concerned with the domestic violence, but with whether Sashu had contacts with men in Sudan. That is where she had fled to before her husband brought her into Germany.

Before the council meets again, Sashu gives birth to her daughter at the city hospital. Three days later, Tesfamicael visits her and stabs her eleven times with a kitchen knife.

The district court in Kassel sentences the killer to 15 years in prison for murdering and assaulting another woman in November 1986. The judge calls the act "the most heinous thing imaginable."

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.

  • The taz reported on the case on November 27, 1986 (unfortunately no longer online).
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