There was a stunning development Tuesday in the case of two men accused of murdering 16-year-old Aqsa Parvez.
The young victim’s father and brother pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. In a statement of facts read out in a Brampton courtroom, Muhammad Parvez, 60, and his son Waqas, 29, admitted they strangled the young woman in her bedroom on Dec. 10, 2007.
The pair will receive automatic life sentences.
The men were charged with first-degree murder and were slated to stand trial in January 2011. Muhammad was originally charged with second-degree murder and Waqas was originally accused of obstructing justice. Both charges were eventually upgraded.
Waqas had picked Aqsa up at a bus stop just before 7:30am the morning of the murder. Muhammad Parvez called 911 about half an hour later claiming he’d just murdered his child. When paramedics arrived at the family home on Longhorn Trail in Mississauga they found the teen clinging to life. She was later pronounced dead in hospital.
Aqsa’s friends claim the teen’s reluctance to wear a hijab and her attempts to pull away from her relatives’ traditional values was a great source of tension in the family. She’d moved out of her parents home and was attempting to find a part-time job just before she was killed.
Friends also claimed Aqsa lived in fear of her father and brother and worried they’d follow her to class and discover she’d removed the hijab she had put on before leaving the house and then changed into Western-style clothes once she arrived at her high school, Applewood Heights S.S.
“Every single time, we’d get off the school bus she would always want me to walk her halfway home because she was paranoid her dad or brother would follow her home,” Aqsa’s friend Ashley Garbutt said shortly after the crime.
“She used to walk the rest of the way home. I stopped for a little while and after, I kept continuing because I understood it was a serious matter.”
Family friction and violence over Aqsa’s refusal to wear a hijab prompted her to leave the home and stay at a friend’s place. The entire family moved to Canada from Pakistan in 2001.
Court documents reveal she had been speaking with school officials about her abusive home life at least one year before her murder.
This case spurred speculation about whether or not the teen’s murder was in fact an honour killing, and also raised questions about the issue of immigrants having difficulty integrating into Canadian society.
CityNews.ca’s past stories on this case: