Killing of Iraqi sisters by 'drunken brother' sparks outrage

Brutal killing of Iraqi sisters by 'drunken brother' sparks outrage
3 min read
20 December, 2020
A drunken man has allegedly murdered his sisters in a so-called honour killing that has sparked outcry and calls for protection of women against domestic violence.
The brother was under the influence of alcohol when he carried out the attack [Twitter]
Two Iraqi sisters have been killed, allegedly by their brother, in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior said on Sunday.

The brother was under the influence of alcohol when he carried out the attack, a ministry statement added without elaborating on how the women where killed.

"The incident of the killing of the two sisters in Sadr City, east of Baghdad, was carried out by their drunken brother," Major General Saad Maan confirmed, according to local reports.

The horrific incident has been labelled as a so-called honour killing, according to the ministry statement.

Pictures of the sisters surfaced on social media, where many took to voice their outrage and demand justice for the women, identified as Howra and Zahra. The Arabic hashtag #Justice_for_Zahra_Howra gained traction on Twitter.

"He was returning home while he was drunk, and he claimed that it was an honor killing...He should be executed as an example to all," one Twitter user said.

"This criminal and others like him in Iraq must be executed, justice must be achieved, and the law must be imposed on these criminals," another Twitter user said.

"Every family sacrificed either a soul or life decency. And nobody will get judged for this because there’s no JUSTICE for us," another user said.

"I don't know whether it is because of the country - a country where everyone carries weapons and the cheapest thing in it is the blood of the innocent, or because of the family raising the boy with the right to beat and insult girls," another user said.

Rights groups have long urged Iraqi MPs to pass a law against domestic violence, which has been pending since 2015.

In April, Human Rights Watch called on Iraqi authorities should investigate and prosecute domestic violence and ensure appropriate sentences for violence against women.

"Domestic violence has always plagued Iraq," said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. "We see case upon case of women and girls dying at the hands of their families, but Iraq's lawmakers have not done enough to save those lives."

While the Iraqi constitution expressly prohibits all forms of violence and abuse in the family, only the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has a law on domestic violence.

Iraq's criminal code, applicable in both Baghdad-controlled territory and the Kurdistan Region, criminalises physical assault but lacks explicit mention of domestic violence.

The penal code provides for mitigated sentences for violent acts, including murder, for "honourable motives" or for catching one's wife or woman relative in the act of adultery or sex outside of marriage.

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