September 26, 2012
MONTREAL – For months, Bahar Ebrahimi had been rebelling against her parents, complaining their Afghan culture and Muslim religion were suffocating her. “I want to enjoy my life. I want to feel what the other ones feel,” she told them, according to her mother’s statement to police.
It was June, 2010, Grand Prix weekend in downtown Montreal, and on two straight nights the 19-year-old stayed out past dawn against her parents’ wishes.
For her mother, Johra Kaleki, the behaviour confirmed that all her efforts to steer her eldest daughter on the right path had failed. “I felt like she would never be fixed,” she told Sgt.-Det. Alexandre Bertrand in an interrogation video played Wednesday in Quebec Court.
As her crying husband spoke to Bahar in the basement of their Dorval home, Ms. Kaleki went upstairs and grabbed a large knife from the kitchen counter, the one she used to chop meat, she recounted. “I said, ‘This is the time.’ ”
She hid the knife under her T-shirt, returned to the basement, and told her husband the problem would best be resolved between mother and daughter. “Just leave us alone for five minutes,” she said she told him. “Don’t come until I call you.”
He left and she cuddled her first-born and told her to lie on her stomach so she could give her a back massage. “Then I stab her, stab her neck,” she confessed. “She said, ‘No Mom!’ I said, ‘It’s for your good. Let me finish.’ ”
Earlier in the interrogation, Sgt.-Det. Bertrand has asked whether the knife blade was sharp. “No, it wasn’t,” she replied. “I wish it was. I wanted to give her the peace that she needed.”
Bahar survived the attack, suffering serious knife wounds to her head and shoulder. Ms. Kaleki, 40, is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and illegal use of a weapon.
Her husband, alerted by Bahar’s screams, rushed downstairs and grabbed the knife from Ms. Kaleki, the court heard. “I said to my husband, let me finish her.’ ” She tried to choke her daughter, she said, and after Bahar escaped, she chased her upstairs and tried to break down the locked door to the bedroom where she was calling 911.
She was arrested, and after being treated in hospital for a knife wound on her own arm, she told her story to Sgt.-Det. Bertrand.
The first night Bahar stayed out late, informing her parents she was downtown enjoying a concert, they went to the local police station to file a report, Ms. Kaleki said. The officer told them there was nothing that could be done. “He said, ‘She’s safe. Don’t worry. She’s a teenager.’ ”
But the idea of a rebellious teenage girl was foreign to her parents. They expected Bahar to be home by 11 p.m. and not to smoke, drink or have boyfriends.
After the second night, when Bahar said she had spent much of the evening walking along St. Laurent Blvd., Ms. Kaleki was horrified. “I asked her, ‘Are you a prostitute? Are you a whore?’ ” she said.
A few months earlier, when Ms. Kaleki discovered Bahar was being harassed by an ex-boyfriend, she blamed her daughter. After speaking to the boy once on the phone, Ms. Kaleki decided he sounded like “a very good Muslim guy” and told Bahar he would make a good husband. “Probably you’ve done something to drive him crazy,” she told her. “I know you. You’re my daughter.” Bahar refused the idea of marriage, calling the boy a “psycho.”
Toward the end of the four-hour interview, the detective asked Ms. Kaleki whether she had anything to add. “I hope she gets well,” she said referring to her daughter. But she did not want her to emerge unscarred.
“She live with that wound,” she continued, pointing to her neck, “she remembers me.” The experience “will make her strong and give her wisdom. . . . It means she will give up her ways of living.”
The hearing this week before Judge Yves Paradis is to determine whether the video and other statements made by Ms. Kaleki can be entered into evidence during the trial, which is scheduled to begin in January. Ms. Kaleki’s defence lawyer has said she will argue that Ms. Kaleki did not have the “operating mind” necessary to consent to the interrogation. The hearing continues Thursday.