Opinion

Lawyer cites 'culture' to defend man charged with beating his wife to death

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Pakistan,Ashe Schow,War on Women

A Pakistani immigrant on trial for murder in New York City beat his wife until she was a "bloody mess" -- causing her death -- all because she served him lentils instead of goat, prosecutors said in their opening statements.

Noor Hussain's attorney, Julie Clark, admitted in her opening statement Wednesday that Hussain, 75, beat his 66-year-old wife, Nazar, but said he should only be charged with manslaughter because he did not intend to kill her, adding that in his culture beating one's wife is acceptable, the New York Post reported.

“He comes from a culture where he thinks this is appropriate conduct, where he can hit his wife,” Clark said, as quoted by the Post. “He culturally believed he had the right to hit his wife and discipline his wife.”

Prosecutors disputed that contention, noting that other Pakistani immigrants in the apartment building where the couple lived knew this was not the first time Hussain had beaten his wife.

“His intentions were to kill his wife,” Assistant District Attorney Sabeeha Madni said during the trial, according to the Post. “This was not a man who was trying to discipline his wife.”

Hussain, Madni said, “brutally attacked his wife as she lay in her bed,” which caused her death.

Everyone accused of a crime is entitled to a vigorous defense, but Clark's approach is disturbing. She's saying domestic violence should be excused for those who came to America from a culture where it's acceptable, regardless of what U.S. laws say.

A lot of women will be less safe if the court accepts her argument.

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