NEW YORK – The daughter of a New York City cab driver from Pakistan testified on Thursday that he threatened to kill her if she left an arranged marriage, but believed he was bluffing.
The father, Mohammad Ajmal Choudhry, is charged with arranging the killings last year of relatives of a man who helped his daughter flee the marriage in Pakistan. Prosecutors at the trial in federal court in Brooklyn have likened the slayings to of so-called honor killings — the ruthless vigilantism against Pakistani women accused of disgracing their families.
"I don't want to hear any more complaints about you," Amina Ajmal claimed her father warned her when he discovered she wanted out of the marriage. "I will kill you if you do anything wrong."
But she testified Thursday that though her father threatened her, "I don't think he meant it." Both she and her father have wept at times during her two days of testimony.
Along with the daughter's testimony, the government is relying on phone calls with her father that she recorded once she left Pakistan and went into hiding. The father can be heard repeatedly threatening to harm the family of the man who helped her escape unless she came home.
"If you don't come back, there is only death," he said in one recording, shortly before the relatives were gunned down in Pakistan.
The defense claims that Choudhry, who was in Brooklyn at the time of the deaths, had no hand in them. They say government agents coached the daughter on how to bait the father into making empty threats.