Israeli beduin woman found burned and buried in suspected 'honor killing'

The family allegedly were angered by the 19-year-old's plan to work outside the home and supposed contact with men.

Police car at crime scene (photo credit: SHLOMI)
Police car at crime scene
(photo credit: SHLOMI)
State prosecutors filed an indictment on Sunday against three family members of a slain woman whose body was found by police burned and buried near her uncle’s home in the southern Beduin town of Lakiya.
The indictment comes as the police are facing mounting criticism for a string of unsolved murders, especially of women, in Arab-Israeli localities.
The victim, Hanan al-Buheiri, 19, vanished on May 3 when she was on her way home in Lakiya late at night, police said. Al-Buheiri’s two uncles Younis al-Buheiri, 45, and Sager al-Buheiri, 25, and Younis’s son Muhammad, 25, are accused of kidnapping the woman as she was walking home. Later Younis broke the victim’s neck and the three burned the body for two hours in attempt to prevent identification, the indictment alleges.
According to the indictment the defendants planned to kill Hanan because she planned to start working outside the home to pay off a debt she had accrued. The defendants were also angered over suspected contact she had with men, the prosecution stated. Hanan and Younis allegedly had a phone conversation a month before her death in which the victim said she had borrowed money and was going to start working. Younis then threatened her if she left the house: “You know what will happen to you,” he said, according to state prosecutors.
Attorneys Rami Shelby and Yossi Leon who represent Younis told The Jerusalem Post that their client denies all allegations against him. “We are still awaiting the evidence to respond to the allegations,” Shelby said, “But in general he says he has no connection to the suspicions and was not even present for the incident.”
Sager also denies all allegations against him and retracts statements he made during the police investigation.
“[Sager’s] statements were given in the framework of his interrogation,” Attorney Erez Shalev said.
Muhammad who helped lead police to the body also denies all allegations against him. “Muhammad’s version is that he did not take part in anything and even helped police crack the case,” the suspect’s lawyer Muhammad Abu Frieh said.
The indictments come after an extensive police investigation into the case in which six family members were detained. During the investigation Muhammad led police to the area near Younis’s home where the body was buried and on May 26 police dogs located the body buried three meters deep.
Police are facing mounting criticism from NGOs and some MKs for a perceived lack of attention in murder cases, especially of women, in Arab-Israeli society.
Seventeen-year-old Ramle resident Henriette Kara was found stabbed to death on Tuesday following the death of five other Arab-Israeli woman, including al-Buheiri since the beginning of 2017.
Thirty-three Arab citizens have been murdered this year, according to the office of Balad MK Haneen Zoabi.
Police say they thoroughly investigate all murder cases. However, they contend that some murder investigations in Arab communities are complicated by a lack of cooperation from potential witnesses.
Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman, who chairs the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, is calling on the state to overhaul its health, welfare and policing services dedicated to preventing the murder of women.
On Saturday night hundreds of protesters rallied against gender violence in Tel Aviv. At the protest Joint List MK Dov Khenin said that a national emergency plan is needed “to deal with the epidemic of murders of women and violence against women in Israel.”