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Trial set to begin for Iraqi immigrant in honor killing case

A homicide case that drew attention to so-called honor killings moves into the trial phase this month for an Iraqi immigrant accused of killing his daughter because he believed she was too Westernized.

Faleh Hassan Almaleki, 50, faces life in prison if convicted. In October 2009, he slammed his Jeep into Noor Almaleki, 20, prosecutors said. His trial is to begin Jan. 18.

The woman, who longed to live a normal American life, laid in a coma for two weeks before succumbing to her injuries, which drew outrage from people nationwide.

Faleh Almaleki moved his family from Iraq to the Phoenix suburb of Glendale in the mid-1990s. He and Noor Almaleki had a tumultuous relationship, according to police and court records, and her close friends.

At 17, she refused to enter into an arranged marriage in Iraq, enraging her father, according to a court document filed by prosecutors.

At 19, Noor Almaleki moved into her own apartment and began working at a fast-food restaurant but quit and left her new place when her parents kept showing up at her work, insisting that she return home, the document said.

Later in 2009, she moved into the home of her boyfriend and his parents, Reikan and Amal Khalaf, shortly after she showed up at their house and said her parents had struck her.

Faleh Almaleki regularly harassed his daughter and the Khalafs, once telling Reikan Khalaf that if his daughter didn't move out of their home, "something bad was going to happen," the document said.

And then on Oct. 20, 2009, Noor Almaleki spotted her father when she and Amal Khalaf visited a Department of Economic Security office in Peoria. She sent text messages to a friend saying "Dude, my dad is here at the welfare office," "I'm so shaky," "I knew I shouldn't have woke up," and later: "I've honestly never met anyone with so much evil."

When the two women left the office, Faleh Almaleki hit them with his Jeep before speeding off and fleeing the country, prosecutors said.

Faleh Almaleki is charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault and leaving the scene of a serious injury accident.

The United Nations estimates that about 5,000 honor killings occur across the globe every year. Although rare, they do happen in the U.S.

In the Dallas suburb of Lewisville, Texas, Yaser Abdel Said, of Egypt, is accused of shooting Sarah and Amina Said, his two Texas-born teenage daughters, in the back of his taxi cab in 2008 in what the FBI calls an honor killing. Family members say Said felt the girls were acting too Western and had shamed him by dating non-Muslims.

In Buffalo, N.Y., Muzzammil S. "Mo" Hassan is accused of beheading his wife in 2009, about a week after he was served with divorce papers. The body of Aasiya Hassan was found at the offices of Bridges TV, the station the Pakistan-born couple established in 2004 to counter negative stereotypes of Muslims. Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk said last month that the murder trial will begin Jan. 10.

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