Italian authorities secured the extradition of a Pakistani man, Shabbir Abbas, currently on trial for the alleged honor killing of his daughter, Saman Abbas. Saman’s refusal to marry a cousin in Pakistan is believed to have led to her death.
The 18-year-old’s body was discovered in November 2022 near an abandoned farmhouse in northern Italy, close to where her father was employed. Shortly after her alleged murder on May 1, 2021, her parents departed for Pakistan from Milan. While the trial began in February 2023, both parents were tried in absentia. Her mother’s location remains unknown, though suspected to be in Pakistan. All defendants, including Saman’s uncle and two cousins, have denied any wrongdoing.
Italy has been advocating for Shabbir Abbas’s extradition for months, emphasizing its commitment to prosecuting violations of its laws against forced marriages. The extradition, confirmed by a statement from Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni, marks a significant move toward justice for the murdered teenager.
Abbas was detained in eastern Punjab, Pakistan, in November 2022 after being located by Italian police. Pakistan’s top court approved the extradition in July, with the government authorizing the transfer this week.
Saman Abbas migrated from Pakistan to Novellara in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna during her teenage years, quickly adapting to Western culture. A social media post displaying a kiss between her and her Pakistani boyfriend reportedly incensed her parents due to their preference for her marrying a relative in Pakistan.
Italian investigations indicated the teenager was last spotted on April 30, 2021, on a watermelon farm her father worked at. An autopsy disclosed a potential strangulation indicated by a broken neck bone. Before the commencement of the trial, some family members were extradited from France and Spain.
Shabbir Abbas’s lawyer claimed the family’s innocence, asserting Saman wanted to return to Pakistan. In 2019, Italy criminalized coercing residents into marriages abroad under its domestic violence legislation.