Italy orders murder trial in case of missing Pakistani teenager

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ROME — An Italian judge on Tuesday ordered the trial of several family members of an 18-year-old Pakistani woman who disappeared last year after refusing an arranged marriage and was allegedly killed, authorities say.

Italian news agency ANSA said Judge Dario De Luca, after a preliminary hearing, had set the murder trial in the northern city of Reggio Emilia for February 2023.

Saman Abbas, 18, had refused to marry a cousin in Pakistan because her parents, who had immigrated to Italy, had insisted that she do so. She disappeared on April 30, 2021, after telling her boyfriend in Italy that her family was talking about killing her.

For two months, some 500 Italian police, aided by dogs and drones, searched agricultural fields near the town where his parents lived, before ending the effort to find his body which Italian authorities suspected of to be buried in a field.

Sentenced to stand trial, an uncle who was extradited from France earlier this year, two cousins ​​and his parents, who flew to Pakistan from Milan on May 1, 2021. The parents were seen on a video camera while that they were rushing for a control- at the Malpensa airport counter. They will be tried in absentia after failing to respond to appeals from Italian authorities.

A separate video showed the uncle walking with a shovel and pitchfork in the countryside near the family home in Novellara. Questioned by prosecutors after his extradition, the uncle denied any role in his niece’s disappearance.

In Italy, suspected accomplices to murder can face murder charges.

Children of immigrants growing up in Italy can apply for Italian citizenship at the age of 18, but Abbas has apparently not done so.

Growing up in northern Italy, Abbas adopted Western-style dress, ditching the dresses and scarves his mother wore and dating a young Pakistani in Italy who, like her, had also adopted Italian manners.

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