Tunisia, Lebanon: Girls Burned, Strangled in Honor Killings

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Horrifying killings in the name of honor last week left two young women cruelly cut down at young ages. In Tunisia, a young girl died from fourth degree burns after the girl’s father set her on fire for walking home from school with a male classmate, “shaming” the family.

In Lebanon, two teenage brothers are being held in the strangulation death of their 24 year-old sister.

Aya, a 13 year-old middle-school student from a suburb of Tunis, survived for nine days before succumbing to her injuries. The incident occurred in Ibn Khaldoun, where honor killings are extremely rare. A spokesperson for the Tunis Court of First Instance confirmed that the father, whose name was not released, had been arrested.

A silent march in Aya’s memory has been organized for June 19. Advertised on a Facebook page called “Aya, Voice of the Victim,” the organizers asked Tunisians to join the march and protest against honor killings.

“This act is nothing more than a sign of a sick and suffering society that continues to demonize the female gender,” said the event’s page.

The page has noted that the reaction to the murder was minimal in the media and that the killing did not mobilize the public or political parties as it should have.

“I cannot believe that this case could fall into oblivion. What happened is an unacceptable crime. Further, the reactions of some people who justify this barbaric act reflect the degree of ignorance that prevails in the country,” wrote activist and blogger Lina ben Mhenni in a Facebook post.

The march organizers also announced that the march “is especially for men and is also to prove that the fight is against a mentality and not against a genre.”

In reaction to Aya’s murder, another Facebook page called I Too Was Abused was created as well as the hashtag #moi_aussi_j_ai_été_violentée (“I too was abused”) to encourage abuse victims to tell their stories and for everyone to protest against violence.

In Lebanon, brothers, Adel and Nader Abdul-Qader al-Turk, aged 13 and 16, said they strangled their sister, Dayala, because she would leave the house at night without telling them where she was going and who she was seeing.

The honor killing occurred in the village of Didde, in the northern province of Koura, where the body was found on the street near a school. Security sources reported that Dayala's father came with his 16-year-old son to the police station in Dahr al-Ain, Koura, to report the killing.

In April, the Lebanese parliament passed watered-down legislation against domestic violence in a move decried by women’s organizations as an "April Fools joke." 

In related news of gender violence, a man in Pakistan was detained for killing his wife, 30, and two young daughters, aged 6 and 9 years old, after the wife had objected to her husband marrying a second wife. The man had originally said his wife had killed the daughters and then committed suicide. However, a senior police officer said the man had confessed to the killings, in which he shot his daughters and strangling his wife, after which he hung her from a ceiling fan.

Thewife had previously lodged complaints with the police saying she had been tortured by her husband.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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