Honor Killing in Kurdistan

Ms. Parvin Zabihi, a women’s rights activist in Kurdistan, states that there are at least one or two cases of honor killings in the city of Marivan every year.

In the most recent case, an honor killing in the Kurdish part of the country has placed the subject of “female murder” in the headlines. At the end of Tir (June 20 – July 21), a woman identified as Shahin Nasurllahi, a 23-year-old resident of the village of Oraman in Kurdistan province, was shot and killed by her brother. Mrs. Nasurllahi was away from her 5-year-old child for few months.
Ms. Zabihi is a member of a committee called “Against Violence termed Honor” and recently held an interview with Radio Farda to discussed Mrs. Nasurllahi’s murder.

Radio Farda (RF): Mrs. Zabihi, as an introduction, can you please describe the murder situation?

Parvin Zabihi (PZ): Mrs. Nasurllahi’s husband accused his wife of having suspicious telephone conversations, and he discussed the issue with his wife’s family members and later threw Mrs. Nasurllahi out of their house. Mrs. Nasurllahi sought refuge at her parent’s residence, and some eight months later, her husband admitted his mistake and asked that she return to their house. The Nasurllahis also had a 5-year-old child who was living with the father while Mrs. Nasurllahi was away.

RF: What happened during the eight months when Mrs. Nasurllahi was at her father’s house that caused her husband to ask his wife to return?

PZ: A friend of Mrs. Nasurllahi’s brother willingly contacted me and explained that once the accusation of infidelity through telephone conversation was made against Mrs. Nasurllahi, transcripts of telephone numbers were obtained and they found no evidence of suspicious calls. Pursuant to the findings, Mrs. Nasurllahi’s husband returned and admitted to his guilt by stating that his true intention was to intimidate his wife. Mrs. Nasurllahi’s family then forced him to admit to his guilt by typing a statement and reversing his accusation, and also to have the statement verified and signed by their local religious figure.

RF: How then did these events finally lead to demise of Mrs. Nasurllahi?

PZ: On Tuesday, 25 Tir (July 15), Mrs. Nasurllahi decided to return to her house without first consulting her brothers. Once the brothers found out, they went to Mrs. Nasurllahi’s residence and pulled her out of her house. She ran away and took refuge in a neighbor’s house where she was also chased out of, and was eventually was forced to return to her father’s residence.

Every year we have at least one or two honor killings in Marivan. It can be due to suspicious telephone conversations, or at most, having a boyfriend and deciding to escape together. The social culture in Marivan is very similar to neighboring Kurdish culture in Iraq, and tribal laws play a significant role. Apparently, one of the brothers, identified as Anoshiravan, was armed with a gun, which the other brother was not aware of. On the way back to Mrs. Nasurllahi’s parent’s residence, an argument ensued as to why she had returned to her house without her brother’s consent, and at some point Anoshiravan shot and killed Mrs. Nasurllahi with two bullets.

RF: Do you know whether Mrs. Nasurllahi’s brother, Anoshiravan, has been detained or charged with anything?

PZ: The day that we attended Mrs. Nasurllahi’s funeral, Anoshiravan was still at large and had not been captured yet.

RF: What have women’s organizations working in that particular area done regarding this matter?

PZ: Civil activists who are active in the Marivan area read a statement one day after the killing in which they condemned the murder. However, a written statement has not yet been issued. Also, about 40 to 50 activists gathered in front the hospital where Mrs. Nasurllahi’s body was held, and after her body was released we also left to attend the funeral procession.

For the first time in the history of Kurdistan villages and Oraman, where women are not allowed to attend funeral ceremonies at the grave site, a group of us, including both men and women, attended the funeral. In a silent procession the group walked toward the cemetery holding placards and distributed written statements that condemned the killing throughout the surrounding villages and cities.

Generally, there is a social stigma attached to these types of cases. Those unfortunate enough to be killed in this manner are usually buried during the late hours of the evening, or if they are buried during the day, are buried in a low profile and with no one allowed to attend the ceremonies. However, in this case once we moved forward others joined the procession as well.

RF: Has the judiciary of the Islamic Republic confronted this phenomenon?

PZ: In a typical murder of this sort, for example, when a couple decides to run away and is caught, usually the female becomes the ultimate victim and pays dearly to avoid a chain of tribal war and retaliation against the other family. The elders from the tribes council among themselves and resolve the situation. The victim’s family then receives some monetary compensation from the other family and the issue is considered closed.

Source: Radio Farda

translated :http://www.ihrv.org

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