Pediatrician indicted in 'honor killing'

Among five brothers implicated in sister's murder, two of whom confessed.

Five brothers from Lod were indicted Tuesday with the murder of their younger sister, 19-year old Rim Abu Ganem, in what appears to be an "honor killing". According to the indictment, the eldest of the brothers, Suliman Abu-Raanam, a pediatrician in Assaf Harofeh Hospital, planned the murder and gave his brothers a sedative with which they drugged their sister. However, Suliman's lawyer, Ari Cadri, said his client denies any involvement in the murder. 'He argues that he didn't know about it and he doesn't even agree with it,' said Cadri. 'He is shocked by his sister's death. When the police brought a picture of his sister's murder he began to cry during the investigation.' At the hospital, Suliman was described as 'a skilled and mild-mannered doctor.' The police were alerted to Rim's disappearance five weeks ago after she failed to arrive at a meeting they had arranged with her to make sure that she was safe, said Eshed. Rim had angered her brothers by dating a man from Hebron, instead of marrying a man they preferred from Ramle. Previously, police had called in Suliman and another brother to sign the pledge to protect her. 'We believe that their intentions at this stage to protect her were real,' said Eshed. But when Rim decided to break off her engagement with the Ramle man, the brothers decided to murder her, said Eshed, adding they gave her the anesthetic, strangled her and took her to the well. 'She woke up in the area near the well. They strangled her again, and even though she begged for her life, they strangled her and threw her in,' he said. The police arrested the brothers and the parents on March 8 and kept them in custody for a number of days, although Cadri, who represented the whole family at this stage, persuaded Tel Aviv District Court to release them to house arrest because there was no body or any other evidence. The police continued the investigation and discovered Rim's body three weeks after she went missing, at which point they rearrested the brothers. While Suliman has denied any connection to the murder, one of his brothers said he was involved while another said he wasn't, said Cadri. The lawyer also disclosed that Suliman did give the anesthetic drug to his brother Ahmed. 'He (Ahmed) admitted to drugging his sister with the anesthetic. One of the other brothers strangled her and afterwards it seems they threw her into the well, which was 35 meters deep,' he added. Because one of the brothers has implicated Suliman, Cadri stopped representing the whole family on Thursday. Their new lawyer, Ziad Abu Ganem, declined to comment. According to police suspicions, the brothers choked their sister, and after they suspected she was dead brought her to an empty orchard near Rehovot. She allegedly woke up and began to beg for her life, to no avail. Her brothers continued choking her until she was dead, and threw her body into a ditch. Two of the brothers confessed to the murder, and one of the brothers re-enacted the incident in front of police.