Munich - Munich police are questioning a 27-year-old Afghan man suspected of stabbing his former wife to death "in the name of the Koran," police sources said Tuesday. A Munich police spokesman said the 24-old Afghan woman Nesima R., whose full name was withheld for legal reasons, had been stabbed some 20 times, and that the suspect had given the Koran as a justification for the attack.
The woman received stab wounds to the heart and died Monday in hospital.
The pair are believed to have been married while in Afghanistan, although when Zafar, a 27-year-old unemployed painter, came to Germany in 2008, he found the woman in a new relationship with a cousin.
Police think that the former couple, who have a daughter, may themselves have been cousins.
The 3-year-old daughter was an eyewitness to the stabbing, which took place early on Monday morning. A niece of the victim also saw the attack, which occurred outside her apartment.
The spokesman said police were investigating the "very complex kinship relations" surrounding the case, and suspected it to be a so- called "honour killing."
Honour killing is the term used to describe a murder carried out with the defence of the perceived honour of a family or ethnic group as a motive.
In February, an Afghan man was sentenced to life in prison in the northern city of Hamburg for killing his sister in what prosecutors said was an honour killing.
The judge in that case rejected the honour killing explanation, saying that the family had simply been dysfunctional.
It is not clear in the Munich crime what role other motives, such as jealousy, may have played.
Honour killing has become a sensitive political topic in Germany, with immigrant communities, especially Muslims, accused of importing a barbaric judicial custom.
Terre Des Femmes, a women's rights group, estimates that some 50 women have been killed in Germany in the past 10 years for reasons of supposed honour.
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