LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani police arrested six men from the same family on Sunday, accused of murdering two sisters who were from the same village but also had Spanish citizenship.
Police said that Urooj Abbas, 21, and Anisa Abbas, 23, were allegedly killed for refusing to bring their husbands — cousins from forced marriages — to Spain. They were severely tortured and shot dead in the Gujrat district of Punjab province, which neighbors India.
Officer Ataur Rehman said that murder charges were leveled against the victims’ brother, a paternal uncle, both husbands, a cousin, and both fathers-in-law. Two unknown suspects and another relative also charged in the murder were still at large.
Forced marriages are common in rural areas of conservative Pakistan, where relatives don’t hesitate to kill women who refuse them or ignore the opinions of family elders. Rights groups say around 1,000 women are killed every year in so-called honor killings in Pakistan.