A Pakistani uncle suspected of killing his westernised niece because she refused an arranged marriage has been arrested on the outskirts of Paris thanks to Facebook.
Saman Abbas, 18, had not been seen since late April and her family are suspected of having her murdered near her home in Italy by her uncle because she refused an arranged marriage.
After throwing Saman onto the streets, her family tracked her down and her uncle, Danish Hasnain, 33, allegedly strangled her to death.
With help from the rest of the family, he reportedly buried her body in the city of Reggio Emilia in northern Italy on 30th April.
The girl’s disappearance did not come to light until 5th May when authorities were sent to the family’s home to recover documents that Saman’s family had been refusing to hand over since social services took the victim in.
The authorities arrived at that house only to find that the victim’s parents had left Italy and returned to Pakistan, while Saman was still missing.
Now, a long investigation and cooperation with French police has led to Hasnain being detained in the French capital Paris yesterday morning (22nd September).
Stefano Bove, the commander of the Reggio Emilia carabinieri, told Italian media outlet Fanpage that the suspect had been detained after investigators found him thanks to Facebook. It is believed that the 33-year-old has been in France since May.
Italian and French police had been working together for months, analysing video surveillance footage, telephone records, and combing through social media profiles on Facebook.
Their efforts led to the suspect’s capture on the outskirts of Paris in an apartment on Rue de Bastion in the commune of Garges-les-Gonesse, which is located in the northern Paris suburbs in the Val d’Oise department.
Bove said: “We are talking about people who had multiple profiles on multiple social networks: it was a laborious and complex investigation. We rebuilt the entire relational network of these social profiles managing to identify IP addresses that led us to France and specifically to Paris.”
Hasnain was last seen on 10th May in Italy, but at the time the teenage girl had only been listed as missing and so he was not detained.
However, investigators now suspect that Hasnain murdered his niece.
He was found in an apartment with other people, who have not been identified.
French officers immediately identified him thanks to the mugshot the Italian police had sent them, according to Fanpage.
The police had previously shared footage allegedly showing the uncle carrying the shovel he used to dig the girl’s grave.
He has been detained in prison while he waits to be questioned by a French judge. He is expected to be deported back to Italy in about 10 days.
Police are now focusing on trying to find the other suspects in the case, including Saman’s parents, who fled to Pakistan shortly after their daughter disappeared.
Another wanted suspect is one of the girl’s cousins, who investigators believe is hiding somewhere in Europe