There was a murder in Reading some time ago, and a man is now being tried. No-one would look to the Reading Evening Post for fair and balanced reporting of anything, nor for truthful reporting, as their editor is bought and paid for, but some of what they say here appears to have been said in court. Clearly I am leading a sheltered life. I did not think a woman's appearance or lifestyle could or should these days be cited in court as contributing to her death or diminishing the responsibility for her murder. But I was wrong. She "rebelled against her family", we are told. Clearly asking for it then. If these remarks really were made in court, why did the judge not stop them?
Stabbed teenager Asha Muneer was raised as a Muslim girl in a traditional family but had rebelled against her parents’ wishes before she was murdered, a court heard. So she deserved to die.
The 18-year-old, pictured, was the only one in her family not to wear traditional Muslim dress and dated a string of boys in her teens which was unacceptable to her family, the jury was told. Why? What has that got to do with anything?
The six men and six women heard Asha told a friend her uncle beat up one of her boyfriends who she was dating in the summer of 2007, causing her to slit her wrists and run away from home. So she was being abused by her family. Was the uncle charged with assault? If not why not?
When the Highdown School pupil’s parents found out about an attack on her by defendant Gulamyr Akhter at Palmer Park in July 2009 where he punched and kicked her, she had said her parents told her not to tell the police. So they are accomplices to the attack. Nice.
Gulamyr has pleaded not guilty to Miss Muneer’s murder. Although he has been heard boasting that he did it.
At Reading Crown Court this week, PC John Coogan told the court how he had spoken to Miss Muneer on July 15 last year regarding the incident in Palmer Park that day, but said the teenager had cut the interview short because she had said her parents had told her not to go to the police.
PC Coogan said: “She came from a very traditional family who did not approve of her having boyfriends. She told me she was the only one in her family who didn’t wear traditional dress and said that she feared being blamed for the assault by Gulamyr.
“In the end, she made her excuses and said she did not want to take the complaint any further.”
Chanda Kayumba, a friend of Miss Muneer’s from school, giving evidence in court described a night two days before her friend was stabbed when the pair had gone out drinking with two male friends and got stranded in the snow.
Miss Kayumba said: “Asha was really drunk and we had to hold her up. And this is relevant precisely how? We went to another friend’s house because we couldn’t get a bus home and then Gulamyr was calling. He was calling again, and again, and again until I picked up the phone and told him Asha would not be meeting him that night. So he is known to have attacked her and stalked her aggressively.
“I did not speak to him again after that night. As far as I was aware, Asha was not seeing Gulamyr any more at that point.”
Miss Kayumba also told the court about how Miss Muneer’s parents were very strict but she said her friend was very strong-minded and often went against her parents’ wishes.
She said: “When Asha told me that her uncle had beat up Sanjay [sic], she was very depressed. She slit her wrists.” People who slit their wrists usually are depressed. Did anyone care? Was she getting any treatment?
Asked about another boyfriend, Ali Butt, Miss Kayumba said: “She had an argument with her family about Ali and she left home, she went to live with him what has the other boyfriend got to do with anything? She was a slapper was she? Obviously deserved to die and it caused a lot of issues in the family. They were very strict but he wasn’t very nice to her and he was deported. He was a stalker.”
The trial continues a bad joke of a trial if this is what they think is evidence
We don't have to look around us very far to find stinking misogyny, and the pages of the Reading Evening Post is one of the places where it is to be found very often. But clearly also the legal profession. So, if you are a woman, don't go out, don't have a drink, don't have a boyfriend; if your family abuse you and fail to protect you and prevent you from getting protection from the police then it is your fault.
Where are the op-eds in His Master's Voice condemning this shabby nonsense of a trial? Where is the campaign against violence against women? When is blame going to be attached to the perpetrator and not to the victim? In 2010, as always, we deserve decent behaviour on the part of the legal profession, and everyone deserves a fair trial when charged. This is none of those things. And the Reading Evening Post is complicit.