A trial is set to begin this month in Arizona for an Iraqi immigrant accused of killing his 20-year-old daughter because he believed she was too Westernized. Faleh Hassan Almaleki allegedly ran down his daughter with his Jeep in October 2009 in what is commonly referred to as an "honor killing."
Almaleki moved his family to the suburbs of Phoenix from Iraq in the mid-1990s. Trouble began when his daughter Noor was a teenager. According to court documents, when she was 17 she refused to enter into an arranged marriage in Iraq. This angered Almaleki.
Two years later she moved out of her parents' house and into her own place, landing a job at a fast food restaurant. She was forced to quit when her parents kept showing up at work, ordering her to move back home.
Things got worse when Noor moved into the home of her boyfriend and his parents in 2009. The court documents say Almaleki regularly harassed her, and allegedly told the boyfriend's father that if Noor didn't move out of the house, "something bad was going to happen."
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And it did. Almaleki allegedly ran down Noor and her boyfriend's mother in a parking lot. The mother survived, but Noor succumbed to her injuries two weeks later.
The investigation into these crimes revealed that the defendant was very angry with Noor for not living by traditional Iraqi values - as she had, in his eyes, become too "westernized" and brought dishonor on her family.
Almaleki is charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault and leaving the scene of a serious injury accident. He faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted. The trial is scheduled to begin on January 18.
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The United Nations estimates that about 5,000 honor killings take place around the world every year. They are rare in America. Noor's tragic case helped bring awareness of them to the U.S.