Family of murdered Muslim teenager suffer racial discrimination as police fail to convict anyone for almost a decade
Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 13 December 2017| 24 Rabi ul Awal 1439
The grieving family of a murdered Muslim teenager has said they feel let down by police and prosecutors due to the failure to secure a conviction eight years after they lost their son.
AbdulKarim Boudiaf, an aspiring lawyer from Tottenham, was 18 when he was fatally shot in the neck while walking with friends in north London in 2009. A man stood trial for his death, but no one has ever been convicted.
The family, with the backing of their local MP David Lammy, are now calling on police to reactivate the investigation.
They said that the initial police inquiry felt “cursory” and left them feeling discriminated against because of their race and class background.
Mr Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, raised concerns in the House of Commons earlier this week. He said that the family’s race and ethnicity could have played a factor in their ability to get justice for Mr Boudiaf, adding that it had “echoes” of the Stephen Lawrence case.
He also called on ministers to review the law around the double jeopardy law, urging that the legislation is “fundamentally flawed” and could be preventing miscarriages of justice from being overturned.
Double jeopardy legislation previously protected anyone acquitted of an offence from retrial, but changes to the law in 2005 meant a suspect can be tried again for the same offence if there is “new, compelling, reliable and substantial evidence”.
But Mr Lammy claimed that while the rule is good in principle, it is restrictive in practice, as it means cases can remain open but dormant for years because further evidence hasn’t been presented to police – which has occurred in the case of Mr Boudaif’s murder.
Karim, as the murdered 18-year-old was known to his family, was a talented and outgoing young man with aspirations of attending Northampton University to read Law.
Speaking to The Independent, Mr Boudiaf’s sister Yasmine Boudiaf said the family’s dealings with the police and the outcome of the trial revealed that they system is “not made” to help the needs of minority ethnic groups in low income areas.
The 28-year-old, who was studying at university at the time of her brother’s murder, said her mother, Ouahiba, became quickly aware during the investigation and trial that her son’s murder would get more attention and media coverage if they were a white family in a more wealthy area.
“My mother went into the investigation already lacking confidence in the system, and she came out of it with confirmation that the system is against her,” she said. “The police and others dealing with her were mainly white men and one white woman.
“She quickly became aware that if a white British son was murdered it would get coverage, but in our neighbourhood it would only be covered by local news. It became clear that the system is not made to help the needs of minority ethnic people especially in low income areas.
“We’d all been aware of the perception of particularly young men from minority ethnic backgrounds from socially deprived areas. They’re so vilified in lots of different ways. My brother didn’t have a criminal record, he just presented as your typical youth.”
Ouahiba Boudiaf, Mr Boudiaf’s mother, who was too emotional to speak on the phone, provided a statement saying her family was “tortured every day”. She questioned whether things would be different if she were a white woman who was educated and wealthy.
“I often question what I could have done differently, as a mother, but sometimes we cannot keep our loved ones from harm,” she said. “I also question what the police and crown prosecution service could have done differently to bring my son’s killer to justice.”
“Why was there a lack of forensic evidence? Why weren’t the witnesses believed? What if I were a white woman, who was educated and wealthy?”
She added: “I am grateful that I have been listened to and taken seriously by David Lammy. He is so far the only person in authority who is at least trying. My son is gone, and that is a pain I can’t describe. To not get justice on top of that is unbearable.”
Speaking in the House of Commons earlier this week, Mr Lammy said: “The Boudiafs are a proud loving family of Algerian descent, who have close ties to the Algerian community within my constituency and across London.
“It is a cause of real concern that any family would feel that their race and ethnicity could influence and play a factor in whether the person responsible for a murder is brought to justice. Unfortunately, this is very much the situation the Boudiaf family are faced with.
“To the family the Police efforts felt cursory. I understand it is still an open case but there is no active investigation being undertaken. For there to be an active investigation, the Homicide and Serious Crime Command would need to review the case. I am calling for a review and an active investigation as we approach the 10th anniversary of Karim’s death.”
Source – Independent