Police in Spain have detained the father of two sisters who were victims of so-called “honor killings” while visiting family in Pakistan, authorities said Wednesday.
Spain’s National Police confirmed local media reports that the father was taken into custody in the eastern town of Terrassa, near Barcelona.
He is under investigation for his possible involvement in the murders of his daughters, Urooj Abbas, 21, and Anisa Abbas, 23. They were killed last year in Pakistan for allegedly refusing to help their husbands come to Spain after the women had been forced to marry two of their cousins.
The women were severely tortured and shot dead in the Gujrat district of Punjab province, which neighbors India.
According to Spanish media reports, the women, who had spent several years in Spain, had been forced into the marriages in 2021. When they traveled to Pakistan the following year, their relatives wanted them to help their husbands emigrate to Spain with them. They reportedly refused and asked for divorces instead.
In May, Pakistani police arrested six men for their suspected involvement in the murders. Pakistani officials said that murder charges were leveled against the victims’ brother, a paternal uncle, both husbands, a cousin, and both fathers-in-law.
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.