Bravery of Shafilea Ahmed's younger sister praised

The bravery of Shafilea Ahmed's younger sister was praised today as their parents were jailed for life.

Speaking after the sentencing of Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed, Paul Whittaker, Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS Mersey-Cheshire, said: "Shafilea Ahmed was 17 when she died and her 26th birthday fell during the course of this trial. The tragic circumstances of her death must be the focus of our thoughts today.

"Despite the best efforts of the defendants to derail the investigation into her death by subverting witnesses including their own children, the Crown Prosecution Service and Cheshire Police have worked tirelessly to gather the evidence and present it to a jury.

"The statement of Alesha Ahmed, Shafilea's younger sister, was crucial to our case and today's result is a testament to her courage over the last two years."

Mr Whittaker also urged other victims of abuse to come forward.

He said: "There are many ways to describe what happened to Shafilea: child abuse, domestic violence and honour-based violence being just three. However you choose to characterise it, the CPS is committed to convicting perpetrators such as the Ahmeds.

"But to do that, we need victims and other family members to break ranks and give evidence as Alesha Ahmed did. If you do come forward, this case has shown that the justice system will not let you down.

"The word 'shame' has been heard many times during the course of this trial, but the shame is not on Shafilea, it is on her parents.

"Why did they abuse her? Why did they kill her? Put simply, it was because she challenged their regime and refused to conform to their expectations. She wanted to choose how she lived her life and who she married, choices that are fundamental freedoms for any citizen of the United Kingdom.

"There is no honour in murder and Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed are now starting life sentences for abusing and killing their daughter."