Uncle who kidnapped girl to punish her for violating 'family honor' said to be a champion of women's rights, sent to jail for five years
The Beersheba District Court on Wednesday sentenced a Bedouin sheikh to 13 years in prison for imprisoning, raping, and beating a teenage girl because she violated "family honor".
The girl's uncle, convicted of kidnapping her, was sent to prison for five years.
The indictment against the two says that in 2008 the Bedouin girl, a twelfth-grader, began to date a man against her family's orders. The girl ran away from home, but was soon found by police and transferred to the care of social workers.
The authorities then passed her on to a local sheikh, who eventually returned her to her family. She continued to meet with the young man she had been seeing, to her family's ire. Eventually she ran away again.
According to the indictment, her uncle found her together with the aforementioned sheikh, and the two interrogated her on her relationship with the young man. One of them told her he would "burn her" if she didn't tell the truth.
Kidnappers 'promote women's rights'
The two then passed the girl on to the convicted sheikh and his wife, who imprisoned her in a cave for two months. During this time her hands and feet remained tied with chains, and the sheikh periodically raped, abused, and performed indecent acts on her, the indictment says.
It adds that the sheikh's wife beat her when the girl tried to report the abuse. Occasionally her uncle would also visit, and attempt to force her to marry someone else.
During the sentencing hearing the prosecution demanded a harsh sentence for the men. "Violations carried out due to 'family honor' are serious crimes that harm women's rights in society and oppress them," the prosecution claimed, adding that a harsh sentence would serve as deterrence.
However the uncle's attorneys claimed that he saved the girl's life by setting up her marriage to another man. They added that the defendant is a known women's rights activist in the Bedouin sector.
The sheikh was sentenced to 13 years in prison because "instead of protecting the complainant he took advantage of his proximity to her in order to violate her," the judges wrote in their verdict. He was also ordered to compensate her with the amount of NIS 50,000 ($14,700).
The sheikh's wife, a Palestinian woman, was sentenced to one year suspended prison sentence for attacking the girl and preventing her from escaping.
The sheikh who helped the girl's uncle kidnap her was also sentenced to one year in prison. His attorney said he, too, is known in the Bedouin sector as a champion of liberalism and women's rights. "These acts were committed in a gray area," the defense stated.
* The photo attached is an Illustration
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