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Woman shot dead by father in Afghan 'honor' killing

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 1st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In the latest of a series of murders that have been misnamed as "honor killings," a father has gunned down his own daughter before a mob of 300 people in Afghanistan. The woman, described as being in her late teens, early twenties "dishonored her family by running away from her husband."

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Known only as Halima, the victim was a mother of two small children, according to Amnesty International.

Halima had eloped with a male cousin while her husband was in Iran. Returning to her to her family 10 days later in Kookchaheel, in the Aabkamari district of the north-western Badghis province, her father sought the advice of village elders. The three of them issued a fatwa ordering that Halima be publicly executed.

"The deeply shocking practice of women being subjected to violent "punishments," including killing, publicly or privately, must end," Amnesty International's Afghanistan researcher Horia Mosadiq says.

"The authorities across Afghanistan must ensure that perpetrators of violence against women are brought to justice. Violence against women continues to be endemic in Afghanistan and those responsible very rarely face justice.

"Not only do women face violence at the hands of family members for reasons of preserving so-called 'honor,' but frequently women face human rights abuses resulting from verdicts issued by traditional, informal justice systems. These systems must be reformed and the police must prevent such verdicts being carried out."

No one has yet been arrested in connection with the deadly incident.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission ha documented more than 4,000 cases of violence against women in a six-month period from March to October last year. Tragically, this was a rise of 28 percent compared with the same period in the previous year.

The AIHRC has also criticized the Afghan police in Baghdis for recruiting suspected perpetrators of such violence, including a Taliban commander and his 20 men implicated in the stoning to death of 45-year-old widow Bibi Sanuber for alleged adultery in 2010.

The Elimination of Violence against Women Law, passed in 2009, criminalizes forced marriage, rape, beatings and other acts of violence against women.

Honor killings in this part of the world have prompted international outrage. Among the very worst was the case of a teenage girl beheaded by a relative after she turned down his proposals of marriage last November. The victim was 15 years old.

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