Palestinian A-G charges relatives suspected of 'honor killing' with murder

Ghrayeb was allegedly beaten by her brother upon order of their father, and then again while recovering in the hospital.

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September 15, 2019 16:54
2 minute read.
Funeral scene - descriptive

Funeral scene - descriptive. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Palestinian Attorney-General Akram al-Khatib has charged three of Israa Ghrayeb's relatives with murder in her untimely death.  He made the statements during a press conference over the weekend.

However, despite claims made on social media and by the Palestinian public, he ruled out that that she was the victim of an honor killing. 

Khatib said that the three relatives are being charged with "beating [Ghrayeb] to death," proclaiming that she suffered from "severe respiratory failure" from "torture and abuse" at the hands of those charged, adding that anyone else believed to have been involved in her death will be prosecuted.

He added that grievous psychological and physical torture contributed to the deterioration of Ghrayeb's health.

Activists worldwide have been calling for retribution for Ghrayeb, who was a 21-year-old Palestinian woman from Beit Sahour, Bethlehem. She was allegedly murdered in late August by her brother, after she posted a video on social media of herself with the man she was planning to marry. 

Ghrayeb’s brother, Ihab, a Canadian resident, was apparently exasperated by the video, claiming that the post “dishonored” the family by presenting her with her soon-to-be husband before the actual wedding.

The victim's father allegedly ordered her brother to beat her after relatives witnessed the footage online.

During the scuffle with her brother, Ghrayeb attempted to escape the violence and fell out of the second floor of their house, causing serious spinal injuries, according to various reports. Khatib claimed that it has been proven that the family fabricated this claim to cover up the heavy bruising and fractures she suffered during the domestic incident.

Without alluding to exactly what happened, Ghrayeb posted on her Instagram account that she would be unable to work for the next two months as she awaited a spinal chord operation. But later, she was allegedly beaten a second time while in the hospital, and died after that attack. The exact cause of death has still not been revealed.

The incident has highlighted challenges in Palestinian communities in which domestic violence is either ignored or legitimized by leaders. A protest took place in Bethlehem’s Manger Square last month, where participants called for the criminalization of these acts and for the issue to be brought to the forefront in order to bring about change.

Legal investigator Zeinab Al-Ghoneimi said that 19 women have lost their lives within a single year in the PA-controlled territory, “on the pretext of honor, suicide or death under mysterious circumstances.”

The Palestinian Human Rights and Democracy Center, SHAMS, noted that some changed have been made: Some Fatah officials have condemned violence against women and the PA has joined international human rights conventions. Nonetheless, the organization said in a statement to the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that, “the state of women’s rights in Palestine remains at a standstill, and women are still being murdered."

Maayan-Jaffe Hoffman contributed to this report.


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