Banaz Mahmod (16 December 1985 – 24 January 2006) was an Iraqi Kurdish Muslim woman who lived in Wimbledon, London and was murdered at age 20 on the orders of her family in an honour killing. Her father and uncle were convicted, with three other men, of her murder.
Banaz was born in Iraq and moved to England with her family when she was 10 years old. She was forced to marry an older man who abused her physically and sexually. She was raped on multiple occasions by her husband. Her family did not support her in spite of knowing the violence inflicted by her husband. Banaz left her husband and fell in love with someone of her own choosing: Rahmat Sulemani, an Iranian Kurd.
Banaz's uncle, Ari Mahmod, and father, Mahmod Babakir Mahmod, disapproved of her actions and felt that she had shamed them. Fearing for her safety, Banaz went to the police for help five times before her death. Banaz had learned of the plot after a phone call by her uncle to her mother, and told police she feared for her life in December 2005. On New Year's Eve 2006 her father took her to her grandmother's house and tried to make her drink a bottle of brandy but, realising he was going to try to kill her, she smashed a window and escaped. The police failed Banaz on many occasions and the officer who interviewed Miss Banaz about what happened dismissed her account as fantasy and wanted to charge her with criminal damage for breaking the window. In hospital, she recorded her fears on video - later used to convict her murderers. An Independent Police Complaints Commission report in April 2008 found that Banaz had been let down by police.
In January 2006, Banaz's uncle and father had her raped and killed, by strangling and having her neck stamped on. This has been referred to in the press as an honour killing. Her body was buried in a suitcase in a garden in Birmingham.
Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode of the Metropolitan Police led the investigation to recover the body of Banaz and prosecute her killers, securing the first-ever extradition from Iraq to the United Kingdom. Goode stated that when the police had asked for information from the Kurdish community living in South London, they were met with attempts by community members to hinder the investigation and protect the suspects.
Banaz's father and uncle were sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for ordering the killing, along with a third man, Mohammad Hama, who actually killed her. Two of Mahmod's cousins, Mohammed Saleh Ali and Omar Hussain, also implicated in the murder, fled to Iraq and were extradited in 2010 to serve at least 22 and 21 years in prison. Another cousin, Dana Amin, was jailed in 2013 for helping to dispose of Mahmod's body.
In popular culture
Her story was chronicled in the 2012 documentary film Banaz: A Love Story, directed and produced by Deeyah Khan. In 2015 actor/rapper Riz MC released a song, entitled "Benaz", which was based on Mahmod's story, in his mixtape Englistan released on St. George's Day. A ballad was created by a 13 year old girl, narrating the story of Mahmodand published in Sisterhood.
- McVeigh, Tracy (22 September 2012). "'They're following me': chilling words of girl who was 'honour killing' victim". The Observer. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- Barton, Fiona (12 June 2007). "The tragic story of Banaz Mahmod: she fell in love at 19, so her family killed her". Daily Mail. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- Brown, Martyn (21 July 2007). "Lover tells of torment as 3 get life for honour killing". Daily Express. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- Peachey, Paul (24 September 2012). ""Still now they follow me": Footage of Banaz Mahmod warning police before her 'honour' killing to be shown for the first time". The Independent. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
- "Life for 'honour' killing cousins". 10 November 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
- "Banaz Mahmod 'honour' killing cousins jailed for life". BBC News. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- "Seventh man jailed over 'honour killing' of Banaz Mahmod". The Guardian. Press Association. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- "Cousin 'still proud' of disposing of honour killing-victim's body, judge says". The Daily Telegraph. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- Mistry, Anupa (11 May 2016). "Riz MC's Englistan Mixtape Is A Post-Multiculturalism Shout". The Fader. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
- "Oh Banaz, why did you ruin our reputation?". sister-hood magazine. A Fuuse production by Deeyah Khan. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2019.