Honour Crime

International honour killings and family crime

12th April

Update: 500+ Deaths Per Year...

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Quantifying honour killings in Pakistan

Dr. Muazzam Nasrullah at the Aga Khan University in Pakistan compiled a statistical study that attempts to quantify honour killings in Pakistan.

Nasrullah used local and national newspaper reports systematically compiled by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan as the basis for his study.

A total of 1,957 incidents of honor killings were recorded over four years, the study reported. The majority occurred in response to alleged extramarital relations.

But Nasrullah said he is confident the results were lower than the actual number because not every event makes it into the media.

Honor killings are not unique to Pakistan, and the World Health Organization estimates about 5,000 women are murdered by family members in the name of honor each year worldwide. Dr. Claudia Garcia-Moreno, an adviser on gender violence at the World Health Organization, said honor killings are an extreme form of violence against women which we see primarily in the Middle East and in parts of Asia, but in many ways they are not very different than some of the murders that are being documented in other places.

Nasrullah said the most important conclusion of his study is that more research needs to be done on honor killings to reveal more about the causes and scope of the problem. His hope, expressed in the published study is that clear knowledge about the extent and the brutal consequences of [honor killings] may serve to alter traditional practices.


16th April

Update: Eloping from Inhumanity...

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Honour killings from around the world

Taliban militants publicly executed a man and girl for eloping when she was already engaged to marry someone else.

Hashim Noorzai, head of Khash Rud district in southwestern Nimruz province, said the two were executed by gun shots in front of a crowd of villagers.

Nimruz is a sparsely-populated area near the Iranian and Pakistani borders where foreign or government troops have little presence.

Mini Skirt and Mini Humanity

Based on article from theaustralian.news.com.au

An Azeri immigrant in Russia's Saint Petersburg has been charged with hiring hit men to kill his 21-year-old daughter for wearing a mini-skirt, police have said.

The man's arrest follows the detention last week of two other citizens of Azerbaijan, a majority Muslim state in the Caucasus, who confessed to murdering the girl, a university medical student. They admitted to being paid 100,000 rubles ($4140) by the girl's father. They said he wanted to punish his daughter for flouting national traditions and wearing a mini-skirt.

The girl was abducted on the street in Russia's second city on March 8, taken to the outskirts of Saint Petersburg and then shot twice in the head, the source said.

Hacked off with his Sister

Based on article from stuff.co.nz

A Jordanian man confessed to stabbing to death his pregnant sister and mutilating her body supposedly to protect the family honor.

The man turned himself into police and has been charged with murder.

The 28-year-old married woman was five months pregnant and stabbed repeatedly in the face, neck, abdomen and back as well as being hacked up with a meat cleaver.

The incident is the ninth such case this year and the second this month.


13th July

Arrested then Murdered...

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Saudi religious police identify girls who are then liable to be murdered by their family

A Saudi women's group has blamed the country's religious police in the "honour" killing of two sisters shot dead by their own brother after they were arrested for mixing with unrelated men.

The Society for Defending Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia said the religious police had placed the sisters' lives in danger when they arrested them and then placed them in a Riyadh women's shelter.

The two women, identified as Reem, 21, and Nouf, 19, were murdered after they left the shelter on July 5. The brother shot them in the presence of their father who, according to newspaper reports, quickly forgave the son for defending the family's honour.

But the society blamed the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, or the religious police, for sparking the brother's anger over his family's honour by arresting the girls in the first place: These women have not committed any crime to be killed in a such brutal way. Arresting women for mingling with (unrelated males) should be stopped because it puts many Saudi women in danger and sometimes (costs) them their lives.

The women's group called on the Saudi authorities to charge the brother with murder and also bring to justice members of the religious police involved in the two girls' case.


8th August

Update: A Hiding to Nothing...

A bill progresses in Pakistan to outlaw domestic violence

A bill, which has passed unanimously in the lower house of Pakistan's parliament, will come into effect after it is approved by the senate and signed into law by President Ali Zardari.

Those found guilty of beating women or children would face a minimum six months behind bars and a fine of at least 100,000 rupees (£1,000).

The law will classifies domestic violence as acts of physical, sexual or mental assault, force, criminal intimidation, harassment, hurt, confinement and deprivation of economic or financial resources.

Human rights groups say Pakistani women suffer severe discrimination, domestic violence and honour killings - when a victim is murdered for allegedly bringing dishonour upon her family.

Rape is commonplace and used as a punishment in many villages.

Marvi Memon, a parliamentarian from the opposition Pakistan Muslim League, welcomed the bill and called on the government to ensure the law was implemented.


16th August

Update: Love Marriages...

India creates safe houses to protect newlyweds from murderous relatives

Couples who defy traditions and their murderous parents to enter love marriages rather than arranged unions in India are to be given police protection in safe houses.

Police in Haryana, an affluent but conservative northern state, said that they had been overwhelmed by hundreds of cases in which couples had been attacked by enraged relatives for ignoring the strict social codes that dictate who they should marry.

Under a pilot scheme that will start this month, newlyweds judged to be most at risk will start their lives together under armed guard.

In the rural villages of Haryana, caste purity and adherence to traditions are paramount. As a result, the state has grown notorious as the honour killing capital of India.

To counter a sharp rise in such crimes, a safe house will be established in the Rohtak district of Haryana. The scheme will be expanded if successful.

Vikash Narain Rai, the director-general of police for Haryana, said: Villagers are becoming more exposed to the outside world and young people are choosing to marry without getting their parents' nod. We have to take action as we're seeing more and more cases of kids being harmed by their own kith and kin.

There are plans for a programme where police will explain the law to councils of village elders, who often sanction honour killings. We'll be telling them that these practices are bad parenting, Rai said.


29th November

Update: Murderous Honour...

Family murder of Turkish gay man continues to make the news

For Ahmet Yildiz, a stocky and affable 26-year-old, the choice to live openly as a gay man proved deadly.

Prosecutors say his own father hunted him down, traveling more than 600 miles from his hometown to shoot his son in an old neighborhood of Istanbul. Ahmet Yildiz was shot outside his apartment building.

Yildiz was killed 16 months ago, the victim of what sociologists say is the first gay honor killing in Turkey to surface publicly. He was shot five times as he left his apartment to buy ice cream. A witness said dozens of neighbors watched the killing from their windows, but refused to come forward. His body remained unclaimed by his family, a grievous fate under Muslim custom.

His father, Yahya Yildiz, whose trial in absentia began in September, is on the run and believed to be hiding in northern Iraq.

The case, which has caused a bout of national soul-searching, has underlined the tensions between the secular modern Turkey of cross-dressing pop stars and a more traditionalist Turkey, in which conservative Islam increasingly holds sway.

Ahmet Kaya, Ahmet Yildiz's cousin, said Yildiz was the only son of a deeply religious and wealthy Kurdish family from Sanliurfa, in the predominantly Kurdish southeast.

Kaya said Yildiz was tutoring fellow students so he could make extra money to live independently. But by coming out as gay in a patriarchal tribal family, he had become the ultimate affront to both religious and filial honor, even with parents who adored him.

Ahmet's father had warned him to return to their village and to see a doctor and imam in order to cure him of his homosexuality and get married, but Ahmet refused. Ahmet loved his family more than anything else and he was tortured about disappointing them. But in the end, he decided to be who he was.

That clash of values permeates Turkish society. While Turkey's aspiration to join the European Union is pushing the Muslim-inspired government to accept and even promote civil liberties for women and homosexuals, some traditionalists remain ill at ease with a permissive attitude toward sexuality and gender roles.

Ms. Darama, a religious Muslim who wears a gold satin head scarf, said she was the only one among her neighbors willing to testify: The police and local religious officials are trying to protect the killer because they think homosexuality is a sin, she said. But in Islam killing is an even bigger sin, and no one but Allah has the right to decide between life and death. Ahmet was a nice, gentle boy and he didn't deserve to die.


9th December

Update: Intimidating Figures...

Honour crimes increasing in Britain

Police have seen honour crime surge by 40% due to rising fundamentalism, new figures show.

Honour-based violence, including crimes like murder, rape and kidnap has increased in London during the last year.

Reported instances of intimidation and attempts at forced marriage have also increased by 60%.

A report into the scale of the problem by Scotland Yard found there were 161 honour-based incidents recorded in 2007-8, of which 93 were criminal offences. But in 2008/9 the number of incidents had risen to 256, with 132 being criminal offences.

The latest figures indicate that the trend is continuing, with 211 incidents reported in the last six months until October, of which 129 were offences - more than double the number in the same period last year.

Diana Nammi, of the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation, said the group is now dealing with four times more complaints relating to honour than two years ago.

She said: More women are coming forward. They are becoming more aware of their rights in the UK, that there is help available and they feel confident enough to report matters to the police. But I also think cases and violence are increasing.


9th December

Update: Queen Honoured...

Jordan's Queen Rania campaigns against honour killings

Queen Rania of Jordan is challenging Islamic hardliners by supporting tougher sentences for men who commit honour killings .

Queen Rania, who regularly appears without head-scarf, let alone hijab, has given her quiet support to women's rights groups who want to change laws amounting to legal impunity for men involved in honour killings.

But standing against is are another symbol of the country's attempts to show a progressive face. Jordan's MPs, who have been given more power to hold the government and royal family to account than in other Arab countries, have shown little enthusiasm for the moves.

This whole issue is being exaggerated, and the reason behind it is not innocent, said Sheikh Hamza Mansour, leader of the parliament's Islamic Action Front. His coalition of Islamist and tribal representatives has so far blocked an attempt to introduce tougher sentences for men who have killed their sisters and daughters for bringing shame on their families: It's as if the government is giving up our personality to turn us into a Westernised society.

For Rania, it is deeply offensive that the killing of women not only appears to be condoned, but seems to be on the rise: the number of deaths reported, currently between 20 and 25 a year, is increasing. Sentences remain low, often as little as six months to three years in jail.

The government is introducing a special tribunal to hear honour killing cases, but a parliamentary alliance has so far blocked attempts to change two articles of the legal code. The first is article 340, which allows an in flagrante defence to a man who kills his wife and her lover if he finds them in bed together. It has only ever been used once. More important is article 98, a crime of passion defence, which is commonly used and gives reduced sentences to those who claim they commit violence in the fury of the moment. The government wants a minimum penalty of five years even under this defence, but is coming under vociferous attack.


7th February

Update: Buried Alive...

16 year old girl murdered by family in Turkey

Turkish police have recovered the body of a 16-year-old girl they say was buried alive by relatives in an honour killing carried out as punishment for talking to boys.

The girl, who has been identified only by the initials MM, was found in a sitting position with her hands tied, in a two-metre hole dug under a chicken pen outside her home in Kahta, in the south-eastern province of Adiyaman.

Police made the discovery in December after a tip-off from an informant, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported on its website. The girl had previously been reported missing. The informant told the police she had been killed following a family council meeting.

Her father and grandfather are said to have been arrested and held in custody pending trial. It is unclear whether they have been charged. The girl's mother was arrested but was later released.

Media reports said the father had told relatives he was unhappy that his daughter one of nine children had male friends. The grandfather is said to have beaten her for having relations with the opposite sex.

A postmortem examination revealed large amounts of soil in her lungs and stomach, indicating that she had been alive and conscious while being buried. Her body showed no signs of bruising.


7th September

Offsite: Honour Crime...

The crimewave that shames the world

It's one of the last great taboos: the murder of at least 20,000 women a year in the name of honour . Nor is the problem confined to the Middle East: the contagion is spreading rapidly

It is a tragedy, a horror, a crime against humanity. The details of the murders of the women beheaded, burned to death, stoned to death, stabbed, electrocuted, strangled and buried alive for the honour of their families are as barbaric as they are shameful. Many women's groups in the Middle East and South-west Asia suspect the victims are at least four times the United Nations' latest world figure of around 5,000 deaths a year. Most of the victims are young, many are teenagers, slaughtered under a vile tradition that goes back hundreds of years but which now spans half the globe.

A 10-month investigation by The Independent in Jordan, Pakistan, Egypt, Gaza and the West Bank has unearthed terrifying details of murder most foul. Men are also killed for honour and, despite its identification by journalists as a largely Muslim practice, Christian and Hindu communities have stooped to the same crimes. Indeed, the honour (or ird) of families, communities and tribes transcends religion and human mercy. But voluntary women's groups, human rights organisations, Amnesty International and news archives suggest that the slaughter of the innocent for dishonouring their families is increasing by the year.

...Read the full article

Part 2: Relatives with blood on their hands
Part 3: The lie behind mass 'suicides' of Egypt's young women
Part 4: The truth about 'honour' killings


28th July

Update: Fear and Honour...

Religious threat sees cinema owners opt out of showing movie about honour killing

While the khap panchayats (Religious caste based councils) are getting louder in their protest against screening of new Bollywood movie Khap-a story of honour killing in Haryana, the cinema owners, in the stronghold of these bodies, seem to have preferred to play safe by not screening the movie on its release on July 29.

Though, the cinema owners maintained that they had not received any threat from the khap panchayats, sources pointed out that apprehension of violence is one of the reason behind disinterest of the cinema owners in screening the movie at this stage.

Prominent locals though have taken a serious view of some khap individual's threat to obstruct the screening of the film in Haryana. They jointly submitted a memorandum to Rohtak district administration asking for necessary steps like providing security at the cinema halls.

In a joint statement issued in Rohtak by a group of academics, social activists, intellectuals and artists, expressed concern over the culture of intolerance being spawned by some khap zealots saying: Fearing a possible threat by the khap elements, Rohtak theatre owners have reportedly decided not to screen the film due for all India release. This is highly unfortunate and a direct attack on the right to freedom of expression. If one does not agree with the film, one is free to express dissent or approach the court if there is anything illegal in the film as the movie has been cleared by the Censor Board.


20th January

Update: Zenne Dancer...

Film raises awareness of gay honour killings in Turkey

The suspected honour killing of a gay man in Turkey has provided the inspiration for a new film that aims to raise awareness about homophobia in the country.

The producer and co-director of Zenne Dancer , Mehmet Binay, has taken inspiration from the tragic death of 26-year-old Ahmet Yildiz, a close friend, who he claims was murdered in 2008 by his own father for being gay.

As reported by CNN, Yildiz's father is still at large, with court documents identifying him as the main suspect. A copy of the indictment suggests the father's motive to be that he did not accept the victim to be in a gay relationship .

Speaking to CNN, Binay said:

Death and murder is still on the agenda of our country. We can't get rid of this mentality. People need to tolerate each other. They need to understand that different identities can live next to each other without disturbing each other.



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