The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Afghan man in court for murder of his wife

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 28 November 2023

An Afghan has been on trial at the regional court in Biel BE since Monday. He is accused of stabbing his wife to death out of jealousy in an asylum shelter in Büren an der Aare. The verdict is expected on Wednesday.

Afghan man in court for murder of his wife
The Federal Asylum Center Bern, on Thursday, August 4, 2022, in Bern. (KEYSTONE/Anthony Anex)

Public prosecutor Daniel Lambert said in court on Monday that the public prosecutor’s office was convinced that the Afghan had inflicted the fatal stab wounds on the victim. It was a case of murder and not manslaughter. The court should sentence the man to 20 years in prison.

The woman was 38 years old. According to the indictment, she was stabbed to death in April 2022 in front of her five children. The perpetrator is said to have stabbed the woman more than 160 times.

Several residents of the asylum accommodation tried to help the mother after hearing screams. The husband was arrested at the scene.

The defendant had seriously injured his hands when carrying out the stabbing, as his hands slipped on the handle and the blade. This is stated in the indictment. He only stopped stabbing when he was no longer able to hold the knife due to his own injuries.

According to the public prosecutor, the man killed his wife solely because she had told him several times that she wanted to separate from him. “The man acted coldly and callously by surprisingly attacking and stabbing his wife”, the indictment states.

Defendant claims innocence

The man in his mid-forties denies the crime. “Everyone lies, that’s not the truth,” he said in court. Apart from his wife and children, there was another person in the room. During the hearing of evidence, he had told other versions of what had happened.

“I lost my wife and wonder why I am still alive,” said the man. He also questioned the statements of three of his children, who accused him directly. In tears, he claimed that he had been ill and had not recognized the attacker who had targeted his wife.

His defense lawyer demanded an acquittal. The man had defended himself in his sleep in an act of justifiable self-defense against an attacker whom he had not been able to identify and who was his wife.

Incriminating witness statement

However, a resident of the asylum accommodation who was called as a witness testified that he had seen the accused stab his wife. “I heard a child say, ‘Daddy, don’t do that’,” said the man. His account was confirmed by two other witnesses.

The children associate their father with violence. They were at risk of harming themselves in order to return to their mother, a caregiver explained in court. “They are afraid of their father,” she added, noting that they feared his release.

The family had fled Afghanistan and arrived in Greece in 2019. They then traveled to Switzerland to apply for asylum, but received a negative decision.

©Keystone/SDA

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