TORONTO – Just days after being convicted with his parents in the first-degree murders of four family members, Hamed Shafia has filed notice to appeal, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Shafia, 21, has taken the first step by filing an inmate’s notice to the Court of Appeal for Ontario, lawyer Patrick McCann said from Ottawa.
During the three-month trial in Kingston, Ont., the Crown alleged the murders were carried out to restore the honour of the Montreal family after the daughters tried to resist their parents’ strict control.
The bodies of sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti Shafia, 13, along with Rona Amir Mohammad, 52 — the father’s other wife in a polygamous marriage — were found in a car at the bottom of the Rideau Canal on June 30, 2009.
The main grounds of Hamed Shafia’s appeal are based on whether certain evidence should have been allowed at trial, McCann said.
“They relate to the admissibility of some of the hearsay evidence from the girls and Rona, and also the admissibility of the expert evidence on honour killing,” he said.
There is also at least one technical ground in relation to the charge, the lawyer said, adding it will be at least a year before the appeal is heard.
Shafia and his parents Mohammad Shafia, 58, and Tooba Yahya, 42, were each found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder on Sunday.
All three were given automatic life sentences with no chance of parole for 25 years. McCann could not confirm if the parents are also appealing their convictions.
“I understand they intend to,” he said.
In Ottawa, the Afghan Embassy released a statement condemning the murders as “a heinous crime against humanity.”
The Shafias originally came from Afghanistan. But the embassy said such killings are not part of Afghan or Islamic culture and are “not acceptable in any way.”
“There is nothing honourable about violence against anyone, especially against innocent women. Honour killing is unacceptable in (the) Afghanistan Constitution and its justice system,” the statement read.