An Honour Crime in Ottawa....
Finally, Ottawa gets on the board...
The head of Ottawa's taxi union has been sentenced to 12 months in jail for criminally harassing his daughter.
Yusef Al Mezel sent to jail after a judge determined it was the minimum penalty he could serve that would adequately reflect the "strong need" for denunciation and general deterence.
Al Mezel invoked the threat of an honour crime against his daughter if she did not obey his wishes because she shamed and dishonoured her family.
Al Mezel's threat of an honour killing was designed to "control and dominate" his then-23-year-old daughter, Eman Al Mezel, by suggesting she had brought shame upon her family that would be met with violent consequences, assistant Crown attorney James Cavanagh argued during a sentencing hearing in August. Al Mezel, who pleaded guilty to criminal harassment in September 2008, was trying to deny his daughter "every basic freedom as to how she could live her life," Cavanagh said, the result of an "underlying notion of patriarchal dominance" based on a "perverted and archaic belief in family honour."
In a synopsis of the case presented following his guilty plea, portions of seven e-mails from Al Mezel to his daughter were read into the record.
In one of the e-mails, Al Mezel tells his daughter, who was living with a male friend and his family, that they could no longer "hide the problem" from her uncles and cousins and that he could not guarantee the "safety of anyone" if she didn't return home. "Eman, you know when everyone hear about, they will react crazy, and no one will care about police or other thing, you know your family," read the e-mail. "Please Eman, help to solve it without harm to any one. You should care about the family you live with, you don't want your uncles and cousins at the door of the apartment, please we don't need more problems."
In the message, he wrote of "the Sharaf of the family," which Eman Al Mezel later explained to police was the belief that because she had run away from home and shed her hijab and Muslim beliefs, she had "shamed and dishonoured her family." At the time, her father was also arranging to have her married to a Syrian man she didn't want to marry.
"When she wouldn't bend to his will ... he raised the spectre of violence in the name of honour to scare her into complying with his wishes," said Cavanagh, who urged Ontario Superior Court Justice Lynn Ratushny to sentence the 44-year-old president of the Canadian Autoworkers Local 1688 to 18 to 24 months behind bars.
Al Mezel admitted he repeatedly called, wrote, followed and visited the residences of Eman Al Mezel in July 2007 in an attempt to get his daughter to return home after a violent incident where he pushed her into a flight of stairs and threatened to break her legs and kill her before smashing her computer.