Posts Tagged ‘iraq’

Randa Abdel Qader

Rand Abdel-Qader, 17, Iraq.

17-year-old Rand Abdel-Qader, ‘a student of English at Basra University, met Paul, a 22-year-old soldier posted to southern Iraq in late 2007.

Her father, a government employee, Sergeant Ali Jabbar, killed her on 16th March 2008 after discovering she had been seen in public talking to Paul. Her body was then tossed into a makeshift grave without ceremony as her uncles spat on it in disgust.

Jabbar was initially arrested but released after two hours. He said, police congratulated him on what he had done:-

‘They are men and know what honour is…I don’t have a daughter now, and I prefer to say that I never had one. That girl humiliated me in front of my family and friends. Speaking with a foreign solider, she lost what is the most precious thing for any woman..’I have only two boys from now on. That girl was a mistake in my life. I know God is blessing me for what I did.  My sons are by my side, and they were men enough to help me finish the life of someone who just brought shame to ours.’

Rand’s mother, Leila has divorced her husband and begun working for a women’s group to help others like Rand. She is in hiding as she receives threats from her former husband and her two sons who send letters to her relatives that she’s a prostitute for seeking a divorce. She has spoken to the international media:-

‘I would prefer to be killed than sleep in the same bed with a man who was able to do what he did to his own daughter, who, over the years, had only given him unconditional love.’

She said Ali used his feet to press down hard on his own daughter’s throat until she was suffocated. Then he called for a knife and began to cut at her body. All the time he was calling out that his honour was being cleansed.

‘I just couldn’t stand it. I fainted.’ recalled Leila. ‘I woke up in a blur later with dozens of neighbours at home and the local police.’

‘He asked if it was true that she was having an affair with a British soldier. She started to cry. She was nervous so he got hold of her hair and started thumping her again and again.

‘I screamed and called out for her two brothers so they could get their father away from her. But, instead of saving her they helped him end her life,’ she said.

He has contacts inside the Basra government and it wasn’t hard for him to be released and what he did to be forgotten.

In the same year Rand was murdered, 133 women were killed in Basra – 47 of them for so-called ‘honour killings’, according to the Basra Security Committee. Out of those 47 cases there were only three convictions for murder.

‘She was killed by animals. Every night when go to bed I remember the face of Rand calling for help while her father and brothers ended her life. Rand told me about the soldier, but she swore it was just a friendship. She said she spoke with him because she was the only English speaker. I raised her in a religious manner and she never went out alone until she joined the university and then later when she was doing aid work.’

Rand’s mother used to call her ‘Rose’. ‘That was my nickname for her because when she was born she was so beautiful,’ she said.

‘Now, my lovely Rose is in her grave. But, God will make her father pay, either in this world … or in the world after.’

Du’a Khalil Aswad

Du’a Khalil Aswad, 17, Kurdistan, Iraq.

In April 2007 a video appeared online of the murder of Du’a Khali Aswad –  a 17-year-old Iraqi of Kurdish Yezidi origin who was stoned to death publicly by a mob of men.

World wide media repeated claims from online sites that she had been killed because she converted to Islam and wanted to marry her Muslim boyfriend.

On 7 Apri 2007 Dua was returning home from a shelter after her family pleaded with her to come home and said she was forgiven. Instead Dua was met in her city of Bashika by over a thousand men.

Some of the mob filmed Dua’s slaying on their phones. Footage shows a dark-haired girl dressed in a red track suit top and black underwear with blood streaming from her face as she tries to rise to her feet she is kicked and hit on the head with concrete blocks.

Armed and uniformed police stood by watching her being killed. Dua’s stoning lasted approximately 30 minutes. Dua can be seen in the video attempting to sit up and calling for help as the crowd taunts her and repeatedly throw large chunks of rocks and concrete on her head.. No one tries to help Dua as she is battered to death. Some clips show her lying on the road naked while her face is covered with blood and still breathing.

After Dua’s death in the town square, she was tied behind a car and dragged through the streets. Some reports claim that she was buried with the remains of a dog, this claim was later shown to be untrue.

Eventually, Dua’s body was exhumed and sent to the Medico-Legal Institute in Mosul so that tests could be performed to see whether she had died a virgin, results from these tests confirm that Dua was in fact still a virgin.

The following weeks led to many Kurds marching the streets, calling for an end to honour killings. The British arm of Amnesty International demanded Aswad’s killers be brought to justice. The protesters called upon the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to take decisive action regarding the incident, and work to stop honour killings

Police in Bashika made two arrests for the murder but had to announce that four others who have been implicated, including two of the victim’s uncles, escaped.

Kurdish authorities have introduced reforms outlawing honour killings, but have failed to investigate them or prosecute suspects.



Dua Khalil story on CNN