Arranged marriages in Italy are an unspoken topic. But the story of this Pakistani girl brings them to the spotlight.
The story of Saman Abbas hit the Italian media when the 18-year old disappeared. Her family had arranged her marriage, but she refused and went to a safe house. When she went back home, she disappeared. Investigators started looking into the events right away, assuming the worst from the beginning. Now, Saman’s brothers has confirmed everyone’s worst fears.
The testimony of the brother
The police got their hands on a surveillance video. In the images, they saw three people leaving the house of Saman Abbas’ parents, only to return after a few hours. Investigators assumed they were burying her somewhere in the fields, after her senseless murder. Then, the parents’ return to Pakistan in a hurry, deepened suspicions.
But, without a body, the police only had theories. Until her younger brother spoke to investigators. While he wasn’t there when the fact happened, he heard his family talk afterwards. In particular, uncle Hasnain Danish.
Was it the uncle?
According to Saman’s brother, uncle Danish confessed to him. He admitted to killing his niece, but he never said where he hid the body. Although the brother kept asking, because he wanted to hug her one last time, the uncle replied that he just couldn’t tell him.
Back at the house, Danish cried and he even threatened the little brother to shut up. If he collaborated with the police, the uncle was going to kill him too.
Reconstructing the night
The night in question is the one between April 30th and May 1st. That’s when Saman Abbas tried escaping one more time, after a fight with her parents. Only this time, they didn’t want to let her go. The father asked her about marriage and she replied that she only wanted to leave home. Definitely not get married. She grabbed her things and left.
Then, the parents called uncle Danish for help. And he said he would “take care of it.” The parents went back home. When the uncle returned, he returned alone. And the Saman’s brother testified to his father’s reaction. “He felt sick and he started crying, he was almost passing out because of my sister,” he said to the police.
The investigations continue
Investigators believe the brother’s testimony. They are still trying to track down the parents in Pakistan and to find the body of Saman Abbas. To guide them in their research, there is still the incriminating video.
In the images, the police can see three people in dark clothes, one with a shovel, one with a bucket, and the other with an unidentified tool. According to them, the people are the uncle and two cousins, all accused of murder -together with the parents. For now, investigators have in custody only one of the cousins, who was found hiding in France. Everyone else involved is still on the loose.
The reaction of the Muslim community
The National Association of Imams Religious Guides and the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy voiced concern and worry. And they both denounced and opposed what happened to Saman Abbas.
“We condemn behaviors that don’t have any religious ground, so they have to be condemned. And, more than anything, prevented,” the two organizations stated, “we are against arranged marriages and against this idea of the female condition.”
So, the Italian Muslim community stood behind Saman Abbas, although it was too late. But it’s not too late to change reality and to save more women from violence and arranged marriages.