Shafilea Honor Murder

LONDON (CNN) -- The parents of a 17-year-old girl will spend at least 25 years in a British prison for the death of their daughter after the couple's conviction Friday for killing her because of her Westernized lifestyle, a court spokeswoman said Friday.

A Chester Crown Court judge sentenced Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed to life in prison, which in Great Britain means a minimum of 25 years. The sentence came hours after the court found them guilty of murder in the death of Shafilea Ahmed. The girl's dismembered body was found on a riverbank months after she disappeared in 2003.

The conviction and sentencing in Chester, England, came just days after the girl's mother changed her long-standing denials and testified Monday that she had seen her husband attack their daughter on the night Shafilea died. Iftikhar Ahmed has denied killing his daughter.

On Monday, Farzana Ahmed testified she had tried to intervene to protect the girl, but her husband pushed her away and punched her, according to CNN affiliate ITV.

She testified she was "extremely scared" when she fled the room and stayed in a bedroom with other children until she heard a car leaving 20 minutes later.

When her husband returned alone, she said, she asked where her daughter was.

"If you care for your dear life and that of your children, don't ever ask me this question again," he told her, ITV reported.

Farzana Ahmed testified Monday that only one of their children, Mevish, was present when she saw her husband attacking Shafilea.

Another of the couple's children, Alesha, testified last month that she saw her parents kill her sister.

Alesha said her parents were angry that Shafilea was wearing a short-sleeved, V-neck top, and no sweater, on the night she was killed.

"Just end it here," Farzana said to Iftikhar, according to their daughter.

They pushed Shafilea onto a sofa and suffocated the struggling girl, Alesha testified.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis called it "an act of suffocation by both parents acting together."

So-called honor killings, in which members of a family kill relatives because of behavior that they say shames the family, claim about 5,000 lives a year around the world, according to the United Nations Population Fund.

In England, the Crown Prosecution Service prosecuted 234 such crimes in 2011. About half resulted in convictions.

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