An Afghan refugee who strangled his wife with her scarf in a fit of rage because she wanted a divorce has been jailed for 20 years.

Soltan Azizi, 48, has twice been found guilty by Victorian Supreme Court juries of brutally beating and strangling 33-year-old Marzieh Rahimi in their Hampton Park home in November 2007.

He immediately admitted killing her, holding out his hands and telling police he was "ready for the handcuffs" but later claimed he accidentally strangled her in self defence after she physically assaulted him and one of their children.

Justice Stephen Kaye said Azizi's account was totally unconvincing.

He said the couple's relationship had been hostile and strained and that Azizi had killed his wife in an uncontrollable fit of rage during an argument about her rights.

The court heard Azizi had told Marzieh's sister that she had changed religion and become Australian.

Marzieh had told several people she was frightened of her husband and wanted a divorce.

Justice Kaye told Azizi his wife had every right to expect his care, respect and protection.

"No husband has the right to strike or treat his wife in that way at all," he said.

"In her last moments Marzieh must have been truly terrified, being battered and then strangled to death by the one person to whom she ought to have been able to look for support and protection.

"What you did was a singularly evil act."

Justice Kaye said Azizi and Marzieh came to Australia as refugees in 2005.

Azizi had worked for the Afghan police but became the target of violence after the government fell.

His mother and sister were bombed to death in their home, his brother was tortured by the Taliban and shot dead in their home, along with Marzieh's three-year-old daughter.

Azizi was initially found guilty of his wife's murder in 2010 but won a retrial after the Court of Appeal ruled that some of the evidence was inadmissible.

Justice Kaye said it caused Azizi considerable anguish that he was separated from his five children who were now in foster care.

He said Azizi was socially isolated in prison because no inmates spoke his language.

Azizi was jailed for a minimum 16 years and has already served 1908 days.


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