Accused in canal deaths said daughters betrayed Islam

The day before a Montreal man was charged with killing his three daughters and his first wife, he was caught on a wiretap saying that even if he is hoisted onto the gallows, nothing is more important than his honour.

"They betrayed kindness. They betrayed Islam. They betrayed our religion and creed. They betrayed our tradition. They betrayed everything," Mohammad Shafia, 58, is heard telling his wife, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 41, in the conversation recorded by police.

Shafia, Yahya and their eldest son, Hamed Mohammad Shafia, 20, are each charged with four counts of first-degree murder.

Three teenage Shafia sisters, Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, along with Rona Amir Mohammad, 50, were found dead inside a car submerged in the Rideau Canal in June 2009.

On Tuesday, the courtroom in Kingston, Ont, listened to wiretap conversations recorded in the three weeks between the day the bodies were found and the arrests.

Police planted a microphone in the family van, as well as in the Shafia home in Montreal's Saint-Leonard neighbourhood.

During the taped exchanges, Shafia can be heard saying "even if they hoist us onto the gallows ... we have not done anything bad."

Large-screen televisions were set up and spectators in the courtroom were glued to the screen as images of the accused flashed up to identify the speaker on tape, with English subtitles scrolling underneath.

The wiretap conversations between the three accused are in their native language, Dari.

Mohammed Shafia can be heard saying, "God curse their generation, they were filthy and rotten children."

Spectators in the courtroom shook their heads as Shafia continued: "To hell with them and their boyfriends, may the devil shit on their grave."

The father continues on tape, comparing his daughters to prostitutes for having boyfriends, and saying that nothing is more valuable to him than his honour.

Speaking with his son, Hamed, who's also charged with first-degree murder, Shafia said, "I'm happy and my conscience is clear. They haven't done good and God punished them."