Bekhal Mahmod with Dr.Hannana Siddiqui
Bekhal Mahmod is admired for giving prosecution evidence against her father, uncle and male cousins for the honour killing of her sister, Banaz Mahmod. Her relatives were all convicted of murder or related crimes. She is the first female sibling in the UK to do so. Bekhal also faced threats and attempts to kill her after she left home as a teenager due to abuse and pressures to have a child marriage. She is now on a witness protection scheme, but still in fear of her life. Bekhal has given numerous media interviews, including in an Emmy award-winning documentary, Banaz, A Love Story. She was also depicted in the popular ITV drama Honour, which starred Keeley Hawes. Bekhal is campaigning to introduce a Banaz’s Law to prevent cultural excuses for murder or honour violence. In 2011, Bekhal was nominated for the True Honour Award for her courage in court and campaigning.
Dr Hannana Siddiqui is an award-winning author, expert and activist on violence against black and ethnic minority women and girls. She has been a leading member of the renowned black feminist organisation Southall Black Sisters, for thirty-six years. Hannana has supported over 10,000 women and girls facing domestic and sexual abuse, forced marriage, honour violence, immigration, poverty and destitution, and suicide and self-harm problems. She has successfully campaigned to make major legal and policy reform as well as change conservative cultural and religious attitudes and practices which discriminate against women and girls within minority communities. Hannana has supported Bekhal Mahmod since 2006 to achieve justice for her sister, Banaz, and to end honour violence. She formulated Banaz’s Law and is currently campaigning with Bekhal to introduce this new law to re-frame cultural defences to honour crimes as aggravating offences and acts of dishonour.