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Afghan Brothers Go On Trial In Germany For Honor Killing Of Sister

Migrants line up to register at the Berlin Office of Health and Social Affairs in Berlin in 2015. Germany received more than 1 million refugees in 2015 and 2016, the majority of whom were fleeing Syria and Afghanistan.

Two Afghan brothers suspected of killing their sister for adopting a Western lifestyle went on trial in Berlin on March 2 in a case that highlights violence against women and cultural tensions among some recent migrants to Germany.

The defendants, identified as Sayed H. and Seyed H. under German privacy laws, are accused of luring their 34-year-old sister to meet them last July in Berlin and choking her and cutting her throat, the Berlin prosecutor's office said.

All three siblings had Afghan citizenship and had been living in Germany for several years.

The brothers, aged 23 and 27, did not accept that their sister had divorced her husband, to whom she was married at the age of 16, after a violent marriage.

They are believed to have put the body of the woman, who was a mother of two, in a suitcase and transported it on a train to Bavaria where she was buried near one of the brothers' residences, the prosecutors added.

The men have been in custody since August and could face life imprisonment if convicted.

The case casts a light on gender-based violence within migrant communities in Germany, which received more than 1 million refugees in 2015 and 2016.

So-called honor killings in Syria and Afghanistan, from where the majority of refugees in Germany came from six years ago, are common in some communities there. The two countries rank near the bottom of the United Nations Development Program's Gender Inequality Index.

German women's rights organization Terre Des Femmes (TDF) said the Afghan mother's murder was not an isolated case, calling for support services for refugee women and to close cultural gaps in refugees' integration policy in Germany.

Some 25 people were victims of attempted or actual honor murders in the past two years in Germany, TDF research found.

"However, this number is only the tip of the iceberg," TDF said in a statement.