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Family jailed for life for killing three daughters

Three members of an Afghan family in Canada have been sentenced to life in prison for killing their three teenaged daughters and dumping their bodies in a car into a canal after they went on dates.

In what the judge described as a 'despicable' and "heinous" crime, 58-year-old Mohammad Shafia, his 42-year-old wife Tooba Yahya and their 21-year-old son Hamed were all found guilty of murder. The childless first wife of the Afghan man was also killed, the Daily Mail said.

The four bodies -- of Zainab, 19, Sahar 17, and Geeti, 13, and 52-year-old Rona Amir Mohammad -- were found in June 2009 in a car submerged in a canal in Kingston, Ontario. Prosecutors said the daughters were killed because they "dishonoured the family" by defying rules on dress, dating, socialising and going online.

All the three accused pleaded not guilty. But the judge said the evidence clearly pointed towards the "planned and deliberate" murder. The defence said the car accidentally plunged into the canal after one of the daughters went on a joy ride.

The first wife was killed as the polygamous relationship, if revealed, could have resulted in their deportation, the court heard. The court heard that the four dead made no attempt to escape through an open window, and there was no one in the driver's seat. Three bodies had bruises on the back of their heads.

The family left Afghanistan in 1992 and lived in Pakistan, Australia and Dubai before settling in Canada in 2007. Zainab was forbidden to attend school for a year because she had a Pakistani-Canadian boyfriend, and she fled to a shelter, the court heard. Zainab later married her boyfriend angering the family.

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