Sunday, January 22, 2023

Saman Abbas: Pakistan police arrest man over disappearance of daughter in Italy

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Pakistani police say they have arrested a man on suspicion of killing his 18-year-old daughter in Italy.

Shabbir Abbas was arrested in his village in the eastern Punjab province, a senior police official told the Associated Press on Friday.

His daughter, Saman, disappeared last year after reportedly being pressured into an arranged marriage with an elder cousin in Pakistan.

She was last seen in April 2021 by neighbours near her family’s home in Novellara, a small town near the city of Reggio Emilia, north Italy.

A few days later, video footage from Milan airport showed her parents catching a flight to Pakistan.

Before her disappearance, Saman Abbas had told her boyfriend in Italy that her parents wanted to marry her off to an older man she had never met, but that she was refusing.

After spending several months in a shelter, she reportedly returned home after her family sent her text messages. Italian authorities suspect that the 18-year-old was killed and her body was buried.

Italian police last week discovered human remains in a shallow grave in an abandoned building near the family home and are working to identify the victim.

Shabbir Abbas was reportedly detained after a tip-off from Italian authorities and is now being questioned by investigators in the capital, Islamabad.

Another senior Pakistani police investigator said Abbas was being sought by Italian police on a charge of killing his daughter.

Italy has already arrested Saman Abbas’ uncle after his extradition from France. Saman’s mother is still wanted, while her younger brother has been transferred to a protected shelter in Italy.

Five family members are due to go on trial in February for kidnapping, murder, and concealing the body.

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