The sentencing of Faleh Hassan Al-Maleki

A Glendale man was sentenced to 34 1/2 years Friday for running over his 20-year-old daughter and injuring another woman.
Maricopa County Superior Judge Roland Steinle said the case was “probably the most difficult case I have had to sentence,” because it involved a man taking the life of his own daughter.
He said Al-Maleki would serve consecutive sentences of 16 years for the death of Noor Al-Maleki, 15 years for aggravated assault and 3 1/2 years for leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident.
The prosecution said Faleh Hassan Al-Maleki was upset that his daughter, Noor Al-Maleki, had become too “Westernized” and was disrespectful. She didn’t agree to an arranged marriage with her cousin and moved in with her boyfriend and his family in 2009.
On Oct. 20, 2009, Noor Al-Maleki and Amal Khalaf, her friend and the mother of her boyfriend, were leaving the Department of Economic Security building in Peoria, AZ. Al-Maleki was waiting in the parking lot and drove his Jeep into the two women and fled from the scene, the prosecution said. He drove to Mexico City and then flew to England where he was later apprehended.
His daughter and Khalaf were rushed to the hospital after witnesses called 911. Noor Al-Maleki died after weeks in the hospital; Khalaf suffered fractures and couldn’t walk for six months.
Al-Maleki has first been charged with first-degree murder, which would have meant running over the women had been pre-meditated. Instead, on Feb. 22, 2011, the jury found the defendant guilty of second-degree murder and aggravated assault and two counts for leaving the scene of an accident.
The case was dubbed an “honor killing” and captured media attention all over the country, as the story of the pretty, bright-eyed girl who’s life came to a tragic halt by her traditional father.
But Steinle said using the term “honor killing” was “deeply deeply wrong.”
“I can’t believe a religion would have this vengeful side of itself that would allow people to kill other human beings,” he said.
Al-Khalaf spoke as a witness assisted by a translator for the prosecution. In rapid-fire Arabic, she talked about the emotional and physical injuries she suffered from being hit and blamed Al-Maleki’s jealousy of her family for seeking revenge.
Laura Reckart, the prosecuting attorney, gave a slideshow presentation detailing the case, showing pictures of Noor Al-Maleki, and quotes from her friends.
The mood in the room was tense once Noor Al-Maleki’s boyfriend was escorted out after an emotional outburst when a recording of the 911 call was played.
Al-Maleki was quiet throughout, only crying when his family arrived and while making his statement. Speaking through a translator, he repeatedly said in Arabic “I’m sorry” for his actions that caused pain and suffering to everybody.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Kirchler emphasized justice and submitted a memorandum outlining Al-Maleki’s life to show the court the “struggles he has gone through to be the man who stands before you.”
Kirchler said the defendant is 50 years old with no criminal history and sought asylum to come to the US after being tortured in Iraq.
“The length of time is what’s important here,” Kirchler said.
In his concluding remarks, Steinle quoted the Qur’an, Bible, sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, the poet Rumi and Gandhi to give examples of religious forgiveness and patience.
Steinle argued that from his research, what Al-Maleki did could not be justified by religious beliefs and was just like any other person who killed their own children in Arizona. He also said age and personal health were not reasons to lesson the punishment, but lack of remorse was not an aggravating factor.
“You may never forgive her for what she did to you, but right now she is pleading to God to spare you,” Steinle said.

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