Nightly News   |  January 30, 2012

Sisters, wife murdered in ‘honor killings’

A Canadian court found three Afghan family members guilty of first degree murder. Prosecutors said the four women had been killed because they were believed to have disgraced the family. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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>>> a verdict has been reached in a murder case that's gotten a lot of attention because it involved so-called honor killings of family members by family members. in this case an afghan family living in canada . it is a culture clash getting a lot of attention to our north. nbc's kevin tibbles has the story.

>> reporter: three teenage sisters murdered because of how they wanted 2 live their lives. dress like westerners, use the internet, meet boys. also killed, their father's first wife. by a strict religious family that felt it had been disgraced.

>> four strong, vivacious and freedom-loving women were murdered by their family.

>> reporter: convicted of the crime, the girls' father, mother and brother, immigrants from afghanistan. in 2009 , the women were drowned and their bodies placed in a car that was then pushed onto a canal to look like an accident. they may call it honor killing , but delivering the guilty verdict , the canadian judge called it a sick notion of honor that has absolutely no place in any civilized society. 59-year-old mohammed shafia came to canada in 2007 . the court was told how he ruled his home with a rod of iron. and that eldest daughter was even forbidden to attend school because she had a boyfriend. the young woman had texted the boy saying, "be aware of my bro." it is impossible to know how many honor killings take place in north america , experts say, because they are often mistaken for domestic violence or disguised as accidents.

>> they are associated with patriarch cultures, where then see themselves as the owners of women.

>> reporter: the took a jury 15 hours to convict all three of first degree murder, which in canada carries an automatic sentence of life in prison . ken tibbles, nbc news, canada .