“The girl feared her father, she let her and her mother sleep outside in the cold”
“On May 5, 2021, I managed to contact Saqib who told me he was worried about Saman, who he hadn’t been able to contact since the evening of April 30. In the same conversation, the boy told me that he had a photo of Saman with injuries on the face and of a voicemail from Saman’s uncle (it is not certain which uncle it is, ed.) in which he said ‘before she escapes again, kill her‘”. This was said by AO, the social worker heard as a witness in the courtroom of the Court of Assizes of Reggio Emilia, where the hearing of the trial for the murder of Saman Abbas, the 18-year-old Pakistani who disappeared from Novellara is underway night between April 30 and 31 two years ago.The girl’s boyfriend, Saqib Ayub, later told the same social worker that he was worried as Saman had warned him that if she never spoke again it was because something had been done to her.
“In March we learned of some threats that the boyfriend would have received in the previous months from his father and Saman said that the father in their country was a very powerful man” said the social worker who met Saman at the end of December 2020 when he was already a guest of the protected community. “She described her father as a danger, she told of violence, of ill-treatment suffered when she lived with her parents, of her reaction when she returned from Belgium, of the knife, which he had thrown at her and which had wounded the brother who had intervened. She also said that she was often left outside the house by her father, she and her mother, in the cold, in the heat”. Speaking in the courtroom of the Court of Assizes of Reggio Emilia as a witness, she recalled the fear that Saman Abbas had of her father, the total closure towards him, then extended also to the mother who, at first, he had agreed to meet in protected mode.
THE MARRIAGE – “On November 9, 2020, I was smartworking and Saman contacted me on WhatsApp to ask me for help. We started talking and the subject related to the arranged marriage in Pakistan came up. He had perceived that she would leave shortly. I therefore organized an interview for the next day in the office, she also asked me not to contact her by phone, but only in chat, because she didn’t want to be heard by her family. In fact, the next day she came with her mother, whom I then let out. Saman told me that the parents they would have taken to Pakistan on November 17 to marry a cousin much older than her, I think 11 years old, but she didn’t want to, she said ‘please help me'”. This is the story that FB, another social worker who came into contact with Saman Abbas several times, heard as a witness in the trial for the murder of the 18-year-old Pakistani woman.
“I then explained to her what it meant to be placed in protection, and she said she accepted. So I began with my colleagues to organize the removal which took place on November 13th. Saman was taken to Bologna to an educational community for minors. When I went to see as she was in the community, Saman looked like a different person, the day before she had the classic clothes of their culture, in the community long loose hair, black T-shirt, jeans: she was dressed in the Western style. We had asked her if she wanted to practice or follow a particular supply, but looked at me as if to say ‘also no'”. “Her phones were taken away for security reasons, but she wanted to talk to Saqib. She told me about her relationship with that boy on November 10, the day after the call for help. She told me she met him on social media, that he lived in Frosinone, which for her was a very significant relationship. The elements of concern – she added – were so high, so that she could be traced by her family, that we had forbidden Saman to use the telephone in any way. For this reason I acted as an intermediary between two boys, to try and keep her quiet.”
THE VOLUNTARY REMOVALS – “I met Saman at the end of December 2020, as soon as I took office. There were the Covid restrictions and the numerous meetings were held electronically. Saman did well in school, he had the will to go. In the community he had done friendships, but her path was fluctuating, the community reported relationship difficulties, conflicts between the girls, on one occasion there was even a disagreement” says the social worker AO. “He had telephone contacts with Saqib, there were requests from Saman to go out, to see the boy – he said -. On the part of the community there was an attempt to make both boys understand that there was a problem of safety of Saman, in relation to the motivation that had led to the placement. Both expressed a desire to see each other, which is why we called Saqib to explain to him the necessary precautions. There were perhaps four, five voluntary removals. When she became of age. When he returned, the community filed a complaint. He was sometimes away one day, sometimes he returned and succeeded in the evening, he stayed with Saqib in Bologna”.
And again: “On April 11th we were notified by the community of the new removal – the social worker continues – I notified my manager, I tried to contact Saman on his cell phone but it was turned off, he did not receive messages. And Saqib also did not he answered, only to then send me a message to tell me that he was at work and could not answer. On April 13th we therefore called Saqib who said he had no news about Saman. The agreement was to notify us. Only later did we learn that on April 22 the girl had returned home”.
FATHER’S PHONE CALL – “Saman’s father called me on April 19 asking me to see his daughter, that her mother was sick, that she was always crying, that she wanted to go back to Pakistan but wanted to see her first” he said in the courtroom of the Court of Assizes of the Court of Reggio Emilia the social worker AO. On the following April 30, the 18-year-old Pakistani girl disappeared.
THE PHOTO WITH THE ECCHYMOSIS – “I met Saqib on February 12, 2021, when he was called to the barracks to be heard at a sit by proxy from the carabinieri of Novellara, as Saman’s boyfriend. He lived, as a refugee, in Alvito (in the province of Frosinone, ed.) guest of a cooperative together with two of his other compatriots” said VP the lieutenant of the Carabinieri of Frosinone who several times had the opportunity to speak with Saman Saqib Ayub’s boyfriend. “I listened to his words, he made use of a mediator from his community because he doesn’t speak Italian well. He wasn’t very worried, he was prepared because he had told us that he had already been called by the social workers of Novellara – explained the lieutenant recently on leave – We then received a report from Bologna in April to hear from Saqib again, as there was no more news of Saman. We could not find him, they told us that he had been missing for a month but on 5 May he showed up spontaneously to tell us that he had no more news of Saman. On that occasion – he said – communications were acquired on Instagram between him and Saman (a photo of the girl with bruises on her face and one with a man who he told us was the father) and we verified how the last call between the two took place on April 30 of that year, at 11.05pm. He appeared to us much more tried, he had crying spells, he was scared, we could see that he was in pain. Almost every day he came to the barracks to ask for news, if I knew anything.”
In the courtroom of the Court of Assizes of Reggio Emilia, the lieutenant of the Carabinieri of Frosinone, recently on leave, said that Saman’s boyfriend, met by the 18-year-old on social media, was “frightened, in a condition of fragility due to the constant threats received on the phone from the girl’s father”. Three months after seeing him for the first time, “on May 12 – recalls the carabiniere – he filed a complaint against Saman’s father for threats received from him over the phone. Photos, videos and screenshots were acquired on that occasion. He had already presented another complaint to the Sora police station, and in the meantime he continued to come to us, when he saw me he asked if there was any news until, on June 7, he was heard from the carabinieri of the Reggio Emilia and Guastalla operations department. : that’s where he said he had Saman’s phone. He hadn’t been entirely sincere, he kept saying fragmented things, pressed to tell the truth he had fits of tears, he slumped in his chair. He was reticent, he always tried to mislead”. “I then heard from him again on June 10, because we had learned of the leak of news in the media, someone had managed to get his number and, posing as a carabiniere – the witness said again – he had managed to get the whole story told , thus helping to spread the news. Since then we found him emaciated, he didn’t eat, he was always in bed, in a psychologically fragile situation. A few days later, on the 14th, the interpreter friend called me, saying he was worried because Saqib didn’t answer and feared for him. We went home, to the cooperative, and found him ill, we called 118 who then took him to Cassino, where he remained hospitalized for about ten days. On the 17th June made me call during my hospitalization, he asked me for a lawyer, he kept saying that he received these calls, we confiscated his phones. As soon as he got out of the hospital, accompanied by an operator, he started hitting a signpost in front of the barracks and then passed out. He complained that his phones had been confiscated, he cried, said it wasn’t right. He only calmed down when he was told they would call him twice a week. On 17 July he filed a lawsuit again against Saman’s father – he concluded – from there I never heard from him again until this summer he came to see me, he was better, he had a job but continued to fear threats from Saman’s father” .(from the sent Silvia Mancinelli)