Father of two sisters murdered in Pakistan 'honour killings' detained in Spain

The father of two sisters murdered in so-called "honour killings" in Pakistan has been detained in Spain.

The unnamed suspect is being investigated over his possible involvement in the deaths of Anisa Abbas, 23, and her younger sibling Urooj, 21.

The sisters were tortured and shot dead in the Gujarat district of Punjab province last year for allegedly refusing to help their husbands travel to Spain.

They were forced to marry two of their cousins in 2021, according to Spanish media reports.

During a visit to Pakistan last year, relatives asked them to help their husbands emigrate to Spain.

But the sisters, who had spent several years living in the European country, both refused and demanded a divorce, reports say.

Six suspects were arrested by Pakistani police in connection with the murders in May last year.

Officers said the sisters' brother, uncle and cousin, together with both their husbands and fathers-in-law, faced murder charges.

On Wednesday, Spain's National Police confirmed their father was taken into custody near Barcelona, in the eastern town of Terrassa.

Human rights groups say around 1,000 women die every year in "honour killings" in Pakistan, where forced marriages are common in conservative rural areas.

In Iraq, dozens of protesters gathered to stand against the "honour killing" of YouTube star Tiba Ali, who was allegedly strangled by her father in January this year.

Meanwhile in India, a father who found his teenage daughter in a "compromising position" with a man severed her head with an axe before taking it to a local police station in northern Uttar Pradesh.

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Campaigners say thousands of women and girls are killed every year by family members over perceived damage to their "honour" across South Asia and the Middle East.

India officially recorded 24 honour killings in 2019 - although activists believe government statistics do not reflect the true scale of the crimes being committed.