Jury hears details of oldest Shafia sister's romance
Kingston murder trial jurors heard details Monday about how the relationship between Zainab Shafia and her Pakistani boyfriend caused a great deal of stress within her family.
Nineteen-year-old Zainab's body was found in a submerged car at the bottom of the Rideau Canal, along with her sisters, Sahar, 17, and Geeti Shafia, 13, as well as Rona Amir Mohammad, 50, in June 2009.
Mohammad Shafia, 58, his wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 41, and their son, Hamed Mohammad Shafia, 20, have all pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder in their deaths.
In court Monday, the elder Shafia watched as prosecutors showed the jury a series of cellphone photos of his two oldest daughters posing in revealing clothes and with their arms around boyfriends.
The photos were salvaged from three cellphones found in the black Nissan pulled from the canal.
A witness — a close friend of Zainab's whose identity is protected by court order — recounted the relationship between Zainab and her boyfriend, beginning with their first email exchange.
In an email shown to the Jury, Zainab warned the teen about her brother Hamed and asked him to act as if they were strangers in front of him.
But the witness said Hamed soon discovered the relationship when he caught the couple hiding in the Shafia's Montreal home.
As punishment, the witness said Zainab was pulled out of school for a year.
According to the witness, Zainab ran away to a women's shelter with her boyfriend’s help. She didn’t want to go home, the witness testified, because she was afraid.
But Zainab’s mother found her and convinced her to return home by promising her she could get married, said the witness.
The witness recounted how the parents believed their reputation would be damaged because the boyfriend's family did not attend Zainab's wedding. Less than 24 hours after the wedding, the marriage was annulled.
In June 2009, the witness said Zainab was preparing to ask forgiveness from her father, who was about to return from a business trip abroad.
In another email presented to the court, dated June 9, 2009, Zainab wrote that even if she could no longer see him, she would always love her husband of one day.
Zainab was found dead three weeks later.