Johra Kaleki

Johra Kaleki

Crime: Attempted Murder

My own mother, R.I.P., wasn’t perfect, but I considered her wonderful. She never yelled at us, or insulted us. She didn’t spank us or ground us. She was quiet, considerate and thoughtful, and she made our home life comfortable and stable. There was no drama or trauma in our household, save for sibling rivalry, and Mom could settle us down with “the look”. She expected us to be the best and do the best we could. I truly wish everyone could have a childhood like mine.

Johra Kaleki is not a perfect mother. In fact, I’d say she is the exact opposite of my own mom. She was convicted on March 10, 2015 of trying to kill her daughter with a meat cleaver.

Holy shitballs, batman! A meat cleaver! That’s like a notch or two below chainsaw and blowtorch on my scale of scary things to be attacked with.

Johra Kaleki of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, attacked her daughter, Bahar, because she’d gone out for a night of clubbing. Uh oh, a night of clubbing is apparently a no-no in that traditional Afghan family.

There were a lot of no-nos for the daughters of that family, such as no smoking, drinking, staying out late or having boyfriends. I’m sure there were a lot more I haven’t listed here.

Bahar wanted to be more like other young Canadian people. She found the Afghan culture and the Muslim religion too stifling and restrictive, and she decided to rebel. I can understand that. She was 19 years old and she wanted to experience freedom from her family’s strict rules.

In June 2010, during Grand Prix weekend in downtown Montreal, the young woman stayed out past dawn for 2 nights. She went to a nightclub, and to an outdoor concert. She went to a bar where she met a couple of girls who let her sleep over at their place. Wow. That was certainly rebellious — much, much too rebellious for Johra Kaleki to handle.

“I felt like she would never be fixed,” the outraged mother Johra Kaleki later explained to police, as if there was anything broken about her daughter.

Staying out for 2 nights was only the latest of “wild” things Bahar had been doing. She’d been associating with boys, cursing, wearing heavy makeup, and threatening to leave home.

So what happened when Bahar returned to home in the wee hours? A lot of bad stuff, that’s what.

Her father, who was crying at his daughter’s bad behaviour and the “dishonour” she brought to the family, took Bahar into the basement to have a talk. That’s where they could talk without waking up the rest of the family.

Johra Kaleki didn’t stick around for the whole talk. She’d had it with her wayward daughter. Enough was enough, considering she’d been stressed and worried about Bahar for 2 nights. And now, listening to her daughter tell her father he was too strict, Johra Kaleki blew a gasket. She went upstairs to the kitchen, grabbed the meat cleaver and hid it under her shirt.

When Johra Kaleki returned to the basement, she told her husband to leave. “Let me talk to her… Give me five minutes.” She further instructed him, “Close the door and don’t come back until I tell you to.” The man went upstairs, leaving the two women alone.

Johra Kaleki then told her daughter she loved her. She suggested that she lie down and rest, and offered a massage. Huh?

The enraged woman, of course, had no intention of delivering a massage. So instead of rubbing Bahar’s shoulders, she stabbed the girl in the back. Mercifully, it wasn’t a fatal wound.

“I felt something in my back…. It really hurt,” Bahar said. She thought at the time, “I’m not even 20 years old. I’m dying, and it’s my mother who is going to kill me.”

Bahar, bleeding and in pain, began screaming. Her unforgiving mother said, “This is for your own good.” She tried to stab her again. “Let me finish, let me do this,” she had said. “You do not deserve this life, you do not deserve anything.”

Bahar began screaming, “Dada, save me!” Her father rushed downstairs and managed to grab the weapon from Johra Kaleki. The deranged woman, now without her meat cleaver, started choking Bahar. “Let me finish, I want to kill her,” she said.

Kudos to Johra Kaleki’s husband. He literally saved his daughter’s life. He pulled the enraged woman off Bahar and held her back. He ultimately managed to pin her to the floor. Bahar escaped and called 911. She’d suffered serious wounds to her head, shoulders and hands.

Johra Kaleki was arrested and charged with attempted murder, assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon. She gave the police a 4-hour statement in which she detailed the rules of the household, and how her “wild” daughter Bahar had rebelled against them.

Johra Kaleki also told the investigator, Sgt.-Det. Alexandre Bertrand, that she’d kept her husband in the dark about Bahar’s behavior, thinking he would have been “really mad” and it would have been the “end of the world for him”.

After she described the attack on her daughter, the investigator asked her if her weapon was sharp. “No, it wasn’t,” she answered. “I wish it was.” What a sweetheart of a mother!

When asked in the police interview if what she’d done was necessary, Johra Kaleki admitted that she’d gone against her religion and her God, and what she’d done was wrong.

It took a long time to get Johra Kaleki to justice. The trial began in September 2012 and continued until December 2014. The whole process was delayed by numerous legal challenges and psychiatric evaluations.

Johra Kaleki

Johra Kaleki was released from jail under conditions: she had to reside at another address in Montreal and could not leave the province. She was allowed to see her younger children but only in the presence of a youth protection worker. She could also see the victim but only in the presence of a responsible adult.

Johra Kaleki was interviewed and analyzed by 3 psychiatrists. She was found fit to stand trial.

One of the psychiatrists deduced that Johra Kaleki had suffered from a “brief psychotic disorder” and would later testify for the defense.

Another of the psychiatrists found that Johra Kaleki was simply “very angry” with her daughter, and did not have a mental disorder.

The defense attorneys fought hard to exclude the videotaped statement to the police from the trial. They argued that their client was mentally distraught at the time, and that her answers to the police were “not the product of an operating mind”. They also claimed that Johra Kaleki’s ability to speak English was limited, and that she had difficulty in understanding the language.

Ultimately, in March 2014, Judge Yves Paradis ruled that the statements Johra Kaleki had made to investigators were admissible.

“Ms. Kaleki chose to speak English to express what she meant,” said Judge Paradis. The judge concluded that Johra Kaleki’s statements were made freely and voluntarily.

Well, that was a setback for the defense, especially since Johra Kaleki had said things like, “I will kill her, I want to finish her,” and “This is my daughter, I can do whatever I want.”

With her videotaped police statement ruled admissible, Johra Kaleki chose to testify that she had no memory at all of her police interview or the attack on her daughter. Amnesia, she said, caused by stress, migraines and lack of sleep.

“That person is not me. It’s not me answering the questions,” she told the court. And then she contradicted what she told the police. She testified that there were NO rules prohibiting her daughter from dating, having sex, drinking alcohol or going out late. Riiight.

Johra Kaleki’s husband testified on his wife’s behalf. He acknowledged that she did attack Bahar, but still praised her as a gentle woman. He even described her as a “best friend” to their four daughters.

“She’s a very lovely woman,” he said. “She’s a good wife. She’s a good mother. She loves her children.”

In the end, on March 10, 2015, Johra Kaleki, 40, was found guilty of attempted murder. The other 2 charges were stayed.

Judge Yves Paradis said, “Mrs. Kaleki was able to appreciate that she was attacking her daughter with a cleaver and that the victim could die as a consequence. In her statement (to police) talking about the period that she could be away from her children as a consequence of this incident, Mrs. Kaleki said: ‘I committed a crime. Yes. For myself I did the right thing. But if you look from the eyes of the law, I did wrong. I admit.’ ”

“It is clear that Mrs. Kaleki knew not only that her actions were contrary to law but also that they were morally wrong according to the standard of the ordinary person,” Judge Paradis concluded. “There is no doubt that her intention was to kill the victim.”

Johra Kaleki still has yet to be sentenced. Why the hell is Canadian justice taking so long in this case? I shall try to update — reminders are welcome.

The victim has recovered from her wounds, and has apparently mended her relationship with her mother. In fact, her mother organized her wedding for her. I’d say Johra Kaleki is fortunate beyond belief that her daughter will have anything to do with her.

Right after the stabbing, Bahar had said she accepted a small share of the blame for what happened. “I understand now that it was crazy on my part because I maybe should not have treated my mother that way. Maybe I should have come home a little earlier. I don’t blame myself, but it’s maybe 1% my fault,” she had said.

I am glad Bahar has recovered, and now that the trial is over I hope she can look forward to a happy home life.

As for Johra Kaleki, I hope she has come to the realization that bringing her children to Canada means that they are entitled to live as Canadians. Traditional Afghan customs are best left in Afghanistan [edit]– those related to honour killings belong nowhere on this planet [edit]. Nobody in Canada should have to live in fear that they face death if they bring dishonour to their husbands or families.

Johra Kaleki is extremely lucky: her daughter didn’t die; her daughter has forgiven her; her husband stands by her; and she’s not in prison yet. We shall see if her lucky streak continues when she’s sentenced. IMO she’s already luckier than she deserves.

Johra Kaleki article – stabbing
Examiner article – statement to police
CTV News article – release
CJAD News article – statement allowed
Examiner article – psychotic disorder
Examiner article – amnesia
National Post article – daughter’s interview article – husband’s testimony
Montreal CTV News article – verdict
Winnipeg Free Press article – guilty
Montreal Gazette article – guilty

7 Responses to Johra Kaleki

  1. anna says:

    “Traditional Afghan customs are best left in Afghanistan — especially those related to honour killings.”

    Such customs are best ended and left nowhere.

  2. Bengalpuss says:

    Cleo, i know what you mean by your mother giving you the “look” it was the same for me and my brothers and sister lol. As for this butchering mom, what can i say? Taking a cleaver to your own child is evil, and i’ve got a funny feeling she just might get away with serving no jail time considering how shit canadian and british justice is.

  3. Bengalpuss says:

    You think this story is bad, the other day i saw pictures of a school girl with her backpack on and school uniform minus her head, the reason why? Her father did the deed because she had brought shame on the family. And there will be no justice because the country this happened in see’s things like this all the time and agree’s with the father that his daughter deserved to be beheaded, sick bastard’s.

  4. moodymagic says:

    How sick these traditions are. They do need to end everywhere. I cant understand how a mother could do this to a child

  5. Bengalpuss says:

    Moody, the mother still thinks what she did was right in her warped head, unfortunately the law doesn’t, so basicaly she hasn’t shown 1 ounce of remorse, unbelievable.

  6. Sarah says:

    You’re kinda dumb for saying these things. And writing an article about it too. Clearly you don’t have a life .

    • Bengalpuss. says:

      Clearly neither do you for coming on here and reading it. See how I made you look stupid? I would hate to think how you would raise your children if you think writing about a mother tryin to kill her child is dumb. You clearly need a psychiatrist.

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