Honor Related Violence (Iraq)

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Statistics on Honor Related Violence and Killings[edit]

In a recent interview with the Arabic daily Asharq-Al-Awsat of 9th December 2008, Suzan Shihab, a member of the parliament in Iraqi Kurdistan, speaks of the alarming increase in the level of violence against women in Iraqi Kurdistan and the laudable laws passed by the Parliament to limit or curb this violence. She speaks of a very sombre reality; of 100 deaths a month due to violence, a half of which were due to “honour” killing and the rest was due to fatal burning, some of which were self-inflicted.
Honor Killing and Deficient Men
Dr Talal Alrubaie, Center For Women's Equality, December 11, 2008
The United Nations estimates that at least 255 women died in honour-related killings in Kurdistan, home to one fifth of Iraqis, in the first six months of 2007 alone.
How picture phones have fuelled frenzy of honour killing in Iraq
Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, May 17, 2008
At least 27 women have died in so-called “honour killings” over the past four months in northern Kurdish Iraq, an official from the regional government said Monday.
According to statistics provided by the Kurdistan Regional Government, 59 women were murdered in the first six months of this year. But local non-governmental organizations say the rate is much higher.
However, between September and December 2007, twenty seven(27) women were reported murdered in alleged honor killings, and ninety-seven (97) tried to commit suicide for similar motives in Iraq. The number of reports of women attempting to kill themselves increased from thirty-six (36) in 2005 to one hundred thirty-three (133) in 2006; the number of women murdered for honor offenses went from four (4) to seventeen (17) for the same period (IRIN 2007, 2). The UN estimates that violence against women in the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan has increased by eighteen percent (18%) between March and May of 2007 (United Nations 2007, 9).

Iraqi Penal Code[edit]

The light sentence was a result of Article 409 of Iraq’s penal code which is often used in cases of “honor killings” by men.
. . .

Article 409 reduces a murder sentence to a maximum of three years if a man “surprises his wife or one of his female dependents (who is) in a state of adultery or finds her in bed with a partner and kills her immediately, or kills one of them”.

Families can cover up the crimes and courts may turn a blind eye. Political party allies among the authorities can help provide false testimony or witnesses.
‘Honor killings’ require tougher laws, say Iraqi women
Yara Bayoumy & Aseel Kami, Reuters, March 6, 2012

Shwbo Rauf Ali, beaten, stoned, & shot, May 2007[edit]

Shwbo Rauf Ali lived in Kurdistan while her husband was in Birmingham, UK on an exceptional leave visa. They had been married for two years, and Shwbo was just 19 years old when her in-laws began to be suspicious about her fidelity, based on the discovery of an unknown number in the memory of her mobile phone.

The family summoned her husband back: not for the sake of discussion or to save the relationship, but to commit bloody murder and so cleanse family honour. On the twelfth of May, Shwbo was lured to a local beauty spot, Lake Dokan, where she was murdered in the presence her husband, three of his brothers, his parents, his sister and her husband. She was beaten by her assailants, who broke her hands to remove her bracelets and ripped her earrings from her earlobes. Shwbo was mother to a nine month old baby girl who went missing at the same time; it is suspected that the helpless infant was drowned in the lake.

Her body was discovered on the thirteenth in the village of Bestana, in the Koia region by police and members of her family. The police describe the attack as extremely brutal saying that there were seven bullets in her body which was also severely bruised by being pelted with stones.

Two teenage girls, doused with boiling water and shot to death, 2008[edit]

Near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, a father doused his three teenage daughters with boiling water and shot them because, he told a court, he suspected they were having sex. Two died.

He said he killed them to defend his honor.

Murder in Iraq can carry a death sentence but under laws that activists say are far too lenient for so-called “honor killings”, the father was jailed for just two years. Medical examinations showed the girls were virgins.
‘Honor killings’ require tougher laws, say Iraqi women
Yara Bayoumy & Aseel Kami, Reuters, March 6, 2012

Teenage girl, doused with boiling water and shot in the eye, 2008[edit]

Near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, a father doused his three teenage daughters with boiling water and shot them because, he told a court, he suspected they were having sex [Medical examinations later showed the girls were virgins]. Two died.

He said he killed them to defend his honor.
. . .
The deaths near Kirkuk in 2008 were documented by Amal in Kirkuk for a report by Chicago’s DePaul University. The third daughter lost an eye and suffered a severe mental disability.

When her father [who was jailed for just two years] left jail, she returned to live with him because there was no other place to go.
‘Honor killings’ require tougher laws, say Iraqi women
Yara Bayoumy & Aseel Kami, Reuters, March 6, 2012

Jihan Sideeq, shot 20 times, June 16, 2010[edit]

Jihan married her husband three years ago to the harsh disapproval of her family. Already a mother and pregnant with their second child, Jihan and her husband believed the dispute between their families was over. On June 16, the pregnant Jihan was shot dead in her home by her own relatives in what police say was an honor killing.

“We had settled the dispute between both of the families. I don’t know why her family killed her,” her husband, Jaleel Mustafa, 38, told Rudaw this week.

Jihan Sideeq, 28, was cleaning in the family home in Suayfa village, Gwer district, when four of her relatives entered the house and shot her 20 times.
. . .
Jaleel said he had asked for Jihan’s hand three times and had sent many people to her family to ask for the marriage to be approved, but still her family would not allow Jihan to marry Jaleel. They married without family consent and Jihan didn’t see her parents again but had been in contact via telephone, according to Jaleel.

After some time, both families reconciled when Jaleel paid $5,000 to Jihan’s family. It was also agreed that Jihan’s brother would marry Jaleel’s sister.

“We were planning to arrange my sister’s marriage with Jihan’s brother in September. Jihan’s family agreed to the money but did not take it. They were saying let the money to stay with you. We will take it when we arrange the marriage between your sister and our son. My sister was also agreeing to the marriage,” said Jaleel.

Jaleel’s family live in Khebat district, 36 km west of Erbil, but do their farming in Gwer located 20 Km away from Khebat. On the day Jihan was killed, Jaleel was not home. He had gone to get his Peshmarga salary.

Wayda, Jaleel’s first wife, said, “We were just coming back from our farms. I was busy with the kids. Jihan was preoccupied with preparing lunch.”

All of a sudden Wayda heard a series of gun shots. She ran outside and saw Jihan laying on the floor. “I saw four men running; one of them was Jihan’s paternal uncle and two more were his sons. I also saw, Akram,www.ekurd.netanother cousin of Jihan. When I got to Jihan, she was not dead yet. I asked her who did this to you? She said something but I did not understand what she was saying”.

Shawbo Abdul-Razaq, Shot to death, October 2010[edit]

Shawbo Abdul-Razaq, 20, was talking to an alleged boy by phone as her father came over in one of the poor Kurdish neighborhoods of Erbil. He shot her to death right there, according to a neighbor who witnessed the event.

Shawbo was murdered in Qatewi, a rural neighborhood in the capital of the federal region of Kurdistan in the north of Iraq. The murderer has run away.

Such a killing is often labeled as an extreme case of “honor killing”. Honor killing is about killing a woman for having alleged pre-marriage sexual relations or extra-sexual relations with other men in addition to her husband.

While widely perceived as a cultural phenomenon here in the Kurdish society, many people blame religious men for putting a blind eye on it or even justify it.

Hassan Yusuf, a post-graduate student studying sociology at the University of Salahaddin, says that there is a lack of religious support to combat violence against women the region.