A Moroccan man (Abdelhafid Rahmani) and his sometime wife (Souad Bousserhan) moved to the United States in 1995 and, to get immigration papers, each married a U.S. citizen – without bothering to get divorced from each other first. Rahmani, 43, could not stand the idea of Bousserhan with another man and so killed them both with a 20-gauge shotgun. The trial begins this week.
Two cultural features make this case of interest of wider interest than its tawdry character would suggest. First, Rahmani has freely confessed his guilt on television and justified his actions on the grounds that he had to defend his honor:
"Did you kill those two people?"
"Yes, I have my reputation."
"Do you feel bad that you did that?"
"No, because she left me."
Second, the Orlando Sentinel reports that "the Moroccan government got directly involved [in Rahmani's case], contributing money to his defense."
In Morocco, "honor killings" get a slap on the wrist - perhaps four years in jail for a double murder of this sort. The question is, will the U.S. justice system let Rahmani off easily, understanding that he has his reputation to maintain? Or will it come down on him with the full severity of the law? Stay tuned.
Comment: This case parallels one I looked at three days ago in "Wives Tells Court: Islamic Law Made Me a Criminal." (June 18, 2003)
June 21, 2003 update: The Orlando Sentinel reports today that "Jurors deliberated for less than an hour Friday before finding a Moroccan man guilty of killing his wife and the man she married without first getting a divorce. Abdelhafid Rahmani, 43, was convicted of premeditated first-degree murder and felony murder, as well as burglary involving battery with a firearm."
Mar. 4, 2005 update: A Florida appellate court upheld his sentence to three concurrent life sentences.