The Depravity That Israel Faces: Girl Thrown Into Well, Killed For "Family Honor"

Discussion in 'Israel and Palestine' started by JStone, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. JStone

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    Jun 29, 2011
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    SURIF, West Bank -- A 20-year-old Palestinian woman who was thrown into a well and left to die in the name of "family honor" has not become just another statistic in one of the Middle East's most shameful practices.

    The killing of Aya Baradiya – by an uncle who didn't like a potential suitor – sparked such outrage that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas scrapped laws this week that guaranteed sentences of six months or less for such killings.

    On the day of the killing, the uncle and two accomplices snatched the woman and tied her hands and feet, Hebron police chief Ramadan Awad said. The suspects told interrogators she screamed and demanded to know why they wanted to kill her, but the uncle said only that she deserved to die, he said. She told them she had done nothing wrong, then her attackers dumped her into the well The water would have reached to her neck, Awad said, adding: "We can't be sure ... if she died immediately or it took her a long time to die."

    So-called "honor killings" are committed regularly in traditional Arab societies that enforce strict separation between the sexes and view an unmarried woman's unsupervised contact with a man, even by telephone, as a stain on the family's reputation. There were nine such killings in the West Bank last year, and Jordan reports about 20 every year.

    The police chief said suspects in honor killings often come forward immediately because they don't face serious punishment and a confession is part of the "cleansing" of family honor. However, Aya Baradiya's uncle remained silent, even saying at one point that his niece had called him and told him she just decided to go away.

    Leniency for honor killings dates back to a 1960 Jordanian legal codex, parts of which are still in effect in the West Bank; the area was under Jordanian rule until it was captured by Israel in 1967. Awad, the Hebron police chief, said that under the old system, someone who killed for family honor would get a maximum of six months in prison.

    In 2010, there were nine family honor killings in the West Bank, Awad said. In most cases, "family honor" was just a pretext, he added: Men would kill to clear the path for remarriage, get their wives' gold or because of problems in the family. The tougher new laws will likely reduce the number of such killings, he said.

    In Hamas-ruled Gaza, at least 10 women were killed by male relatives over the past three years, according to a local activist, Majda Ibrahim. She said punishment is generally light, though in one case, a man was sentenced to death for killing his cousin after she rejected his marriage proposal. The man is on death row.
    Palestinian Woman Aya Baradiya's 'Honor' Killing Sparks Tougher West Bank Laws

    Winston Churchill...

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