Murder … witness Nada Bailey helps police re-enact the killing. Photo: Quentin Jones
SO CALLED ”honour killings” have no place in Australian society and must be seriously punished because women are not the chattels or possession of men, a NSW Supreme Court justice has said.
The comment came after a jury found Hazairin Iskandar guilty of brutally murdering his wife’s lover in a Leichhardt street in February 2010.
Iskandar stabbed Mohd Shah Saemin, 43, with a knife while his son Andrew, then 19, bashed him with a hammer ”like a piece of meat”.
Iskandar’s wife, Nita, had been having an affair with Mr Saemin, her colleague at the Malaysian consulate, and the relationship was widely known within the Indonesian community.
Mrs Iskandar was on the phone to her lover when he was attacked and she heard him cry out for help and a woman bystander screaming.
After the verdict, the non-publication order on the sentence given to Andrew and Mrs Iskandar, 49, in March lapsed.
In jailing Andrew for a minimum 18 years, Justice David Davies said to describe Mr Saemin’s death as an honour killing ”invests with it a degree of legitimacy that it does not and can never have”.
The court heard while in custody Andrew told a fellow inmate he killed Mr Saemin because Mr Saemin was having an affair with his mother, which went against Andrew’s belief that adultery was unacceptable in Islam.
”No society or culture that regards itself as civilised can tolerate to any extent, or make any allowance for, the killing of another person for such an amorphous concept as honour,” Justice Davies said. ”The whole basis and origin of honour killings is the notion that a woman is the chattel or possession of a man … such a notion has no place in this country.”
He said Andrew had shown no remorse and his sentence must send a message.
Mrs Iskandar was found guilty of being an accessory after the fact to murder for helping her son to leave the country to evade capture following Mr Saemin’s death. She helped arrange plane tickets and gave him money. Andrew was arrested in Singapore and extradited to Australia.
A psychologist, Terry Smith, told the court Mrs Iskandar remained in denial about her son’s role in her lover’s death and did not believe she was committing an offence by assisting him to leave the country.
”I am very sorry a man has lost his life because of the jealousy of my husband: my heart grieves for his family and I have lost the man I love … my sin to have a relationship has punished my family too much: I just want my son home,” Mrs Iskandar told Mr Smith.
In sentencing Mrs Iskandar to just under two years, wholly suspended, Justice Davies said Mrs Iskandar was trapped in a loveless marriage and her husband refused to grant her a divorce.
He said her actions to protect her son ”are understandable, if not excusable”.
During the trial, Nada Bailey, who was walking home along Marion Street, told how Mr Saemin stumbled towards her yelling ”help me” before tripping on a gutter and falling onto his back. Ms Bailey put her body over his to try and protect him but she was kicked out of the way. Justice Davies recommended she be considered for a bravery award.
Hazairin Iskandar will face a sentencing hearing on September 14.