PHOENIX - An Iraqi immigrant was sentenced Friday to 34½ years in an Arizona prison for running over and killing his 20-year-old daughter because she became too Westernized.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Roland Steinle told Faleh Hassan Almaleki that forgiveness is the core of all religion, but the judge said he was struck by Almaleki's apparent lack of remorse for killing Noor Almaleki.
The case caused outrage nationwide after prosecutors deemed it an "honor killing" because Faleh Almaleki had said his daughter dishonored his family.
Defense attorneys called the death an accident.
But in a statement, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, whose prosecutors handled the case, said "the killing of one's own child is more than just a violation of the law."
"It is an offense against parenthood itself and the awesome responsibility parents have for nurturing and protecting their children," he said. "Dishonor, disrespect and other cultural mores can never serve as a justification for the taking of an innocent life. Mr. Almaleki will have an appropriately long time in prison to ponder this truth."
A jury found Faleh Almaleki guilty of second-degree murder for the killing and aggravated assault for running over the mother of Noor Almaleki's boyfriend. Jurors also convicted Faleh Almaleki of two counts of leaving the scene of an accident.
On Oct. 20, 2009, Noor Almaleki spotted her father when she and Amal Khalaf visited a Department of Economic Security office. When the two women left the office, Faleh Almaleki hit them with his Jeep before fleeing the country, prosecutors said.
Law enforcement soon caught up with him in London and returned him to Phoenix.
Khalaf lived and was at Friday's sentencing. Noor Almaleki was in a coma for two weeks before she died from her injuries.
Faleh Almaleki moved his family from Iraq to the Phoenix suburb of Glendale in the mid-1990s. He wanted his daughter to adhere to Iraqi traditions, but she wanted to be a typical American girl, according to court records and her close friends.
At 17, she refused to enter 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 after her parents kept showing up at her work, insisting she return home, the document said.
Later in 2009, she moved in with her boyfriend and his parents, Reikan and Amal Khalaf, after saying her parents had hit her.
The document said that 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."