Honor Killings Remain Fashionable in Gaza

March 26, 2012  

A man who murdered a female relative in a Gaza hospital last Friday is claiming the murder was to preserve “family honor” to “escape judicial punishment.”

The Palestinian Authroty amended its laws to end leniency for so-called honor killings in Judea and Samaria in May 2011, but the law has not been changed in Hamas-run Gaza.

The Gaza-based Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said reduced sentences – a maximum of 24 months in jail for severe crimes like murder – had made “honor” crimes “prevalent in the Palestinian society and has resulted in opening the door for undermining the principle of the rule of law.”

Al-Mezan called on Hamas to “treat all killings of women as murder and not to look for extenuating circumstances outside the law.”

Gaza police said they have opened an investigation after the man accused of the hospital killing on Friday was taken into custody.

According to reports, the victim was admitted to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis on Thursday night in a critical condition after having swallowed herbicide. Hospital officials initially registered her as having attempted suicide.

At 1.30 a.m. Friday the relative entered the hospital and asked about her condition. When the doctor said she was improving, he threatened hospital staff with a handgun and fatally shot the victim, 22, in the head.

The victim was from Khan Younis, married, and the mother of a 18-month-old child. The suspect turned surrendered to police after the murder; a brother of the victim has also been detained by Hamas security forces.

According to a survey by the PA Central Bureau of Statistics, 58.1 percent of women in Gaza have suffered violence by their husbands.

Accurate statistics on honor crimes in PA and Hamas run enclaves are not available.

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