ROME – An Italian judge on Tuesday ordered the trial of several family members of an 18-year-old Pakistani woman who went missing after refusing an arranged marriage last year and was killed, according to authorities.
Saman Abbas, 18, refused to marry a cousin in Pakistan because his parents, immigrants to Italy, should have. She went missing on April 30, 2021, after telling her boyfriend in Italy that her family was planning to kill her.
For two months, about 500 Italian police officers, with the help of dogs and drones, searched farmland near the town where his parents lived, before concluding an attempt to find his body, Italian authorities suspected he had been buried in a field.
An uncle who was extradited from France earlier this year has been ordered to stand trial, along with two cousins and his parents, who flew to Pakistan from Milan on May 1, 2021. The parents were spotted on a video camera as they hurried to a check-in counter at Malpensa Airport. They will be tried in absentia after failing to respond to an appeal by Italian authorities.
In a separate video, the uncle was seen walking in the countryside with a shovel and a pitchfork near the family home in Novellara. Under interrogation by prosecutors after his extradition, the uncle denied any role in his niece’s disappearance.
In Italy, suspected accomplices of the murder may face charges of murder.
Children of immigrants who grew up in Italy can apply for Italian citizenship at age 18, but Abbas apparently did not.
Growing up in northern Italy, Abbas adopted a Western-style dress, abandoned the dress and scarf his mother wore, and dated a young Pakistani man in Italy who adopted the same Italian style.