A U.K. court sentenced a Muslim Iranian asylum seeker to jail Thursday for stabbing his wife to death, in part for converting to Christianity.
Iranian asylum seeker Dana Abdullah stabbed Avan Najmadiein, his estranged wife, 50 times in October and left her to die after discovering that she refused to support his application to stay in the U.K., according to the BBC. Najmadiein was 32 years old and the mother of four children.
Authorities said Abdullah returned illegally to the U.K. after being deported in 2013 for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl and that he previously threatened to kill his wife because she “dishonored” him by converting to Christianity.
“It does show that you are not someone of good character and, having been deported for that matter, you chose to come back into this country illegally and have committed this very serious crime,” Judge Michael Chambers said of Abdullah, according to Premier.
Chambers also lambasted Abdullah for the callous and brutal nature of his crime.
“This was, on any view, a planned and pre-meditated murder involving a brutal and sustained attack using a knife — knowing full well that it would deprive four children under the age of eight of their mother,” Chambers said.
Chambers sentenced Abdullah to a minimum of 18 years and one month in prison.
#BREAKING: Dana Abdullah has today pleaded guilty to the murder of Avan Najmadiein in Glebedale Road, #Fenton, on October 1 2018. Abdullah was remanded into custody and will be sentenced on 1 April at Stafford Crown Court. pic.twitter.com/jTer1m7wSf
— Staffordshire Police (@StaffsPolice) February 12, 2019
Detective Victoria Downing characterized Abdullah as an “an arrogant and controlling man,” asserting that he killed Najmadiein because he resented her rejection, her refusal to support his application, and her conversion to Christianity.
Abdullah murdered Najmadiein with a kitchen knife at her home on October 1, 2018, tried to set her kitchen ablaze in an attempt to erase evidence, then fled, initially to Liverpool and then to Glasgow.
Authorities discovered Najmadiein’s body at her home when she failed to pick her children up from school. All of her children were under the age of eight when she was killed.
Abdullah turned himself in to police in Glasgow, but admitted only to being a “failed asylum-seeker” at the time.
Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said the violent persecution of those who convert to another religion from Islam is widespread in the U.K.
“We recently wrote a report for the hate crime inquiry on Islamophobia so that we could show the other side of the coin, where much of the persecution of apostates in this country is based on a real hatred for those who quit Islam.” Chowdhry told Premier.
“We do really need to think about how best we protect ourselves in this country,” he added.
As for Najmadiein’s murder, her sister Hevi said it had a “profound emotional impact” on her surviving family members.
“When Dana killed my sister Avan,” she said, “he killed all of us — my mother, my father, and her children as well.”
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