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Pregnant woman has stomach slit with baby still inside in 'honor' killing

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 19th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In just the latest in a string of horrific "honor" killings - crimes of violence carried out against Muslim for real and imagined trespasses against her family, a pregnant woman in Jordan had both her throat and stomach slit open. Authorities suspect the woman may have been slain as her child was conceived outside of marriage.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Even more horrific, the woman's body was then dumped in a garbage container and set ablaze. Her four-month-old fetus was clearly visible to those who discovered her.

Police discovered her charred remains at dawn in Ruseifa, east of Amman over the past weekend.

"We believe it was an honor crime," a police spokesman said.

"The belly of the woman, in her twenties, was cut open and we could see her four-month-old unborn child, who was dead too. Investigations are still under way," he added.

The Jordan Times reported that "the fact [...] her stomach was cut open is a strong indication that she was killed for reasons related to family honor."

Witnesses said they saw two men, driving a truck, pull up to the dumpster before throwing in the body and setting it on fire with a flammable liquid.

"Jordan is a historically patriarchal country and, with that, is geared toward men benefitting from the justice system," Camille Standen. Internet columnist writes. "And when you know you're going to get away with the crime-even, apparently, if the crime is murdering your sister because they embarrassed you - there are sadly people out there who are going to give it a shot.

Sawsan Zaidah, an Amman-based journalist, media analyst, and feminist explains that the fact the crime hadn't been reported as an honor killing was a "slight improvement, but not a fundamental one." The notion may seem counterintuitive to traditional justice seeking, but when crimes have been reported as honor related in the past, "at the judicial level, it gives the murderer an excuse and a lighter punishment. Also, if it's labeled an honor crime, people are more likely to sympathize with the murderer."

"In Islamic law, the word of two women is equal to that of one man, which isn't a great start. And when a woman is murdered for adultery, refusing to enter an arranged marriage, spending time with a male who isn't her husband, becoming pregnant out of wedlock, or being engaged to someone her family doesn't approve of, Articles 98 (for more lenient sentences) and 99 (sentences being reduced when the victim's family excuses it) of the Jordanian penal code are there to lighten the sentence and, in some cases, completely drop all charges," Standen adds.

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