This Must End: Family Murder of our Women in Kurdistan

The exhumation of the bodies of several women in Kurdistan has revealed that the women who were previously thought to have died because of accidental incidents were in fact murdered by their relatives.


Kurdo Omar, the head of the governmental Directorate To Combat Violence against Women at Kurdistan, said her agency has exhumed the bodies of several women who died under suspicious circumstances.


“Sometimes we have been informed by people about an old incident in which a woman had died because of burning herself or was strangled and the relatives claimed it was accidental,” said Omar “But after we had followed up on it, we reached some other conclusions.”


He said, for instance, a woman in Akre, north of the Kurdish capital, Erbil, was said to have died because of burning but after police was notified and her body was exhumed for test by the approval of the court.


“We later discovered that she was killed by her relatives and the suspects are now detained,’ Omar said, adding that she had faced “faced lots of problems until we could exhume the body. We were threatened not to exhume the body.”


Omar said as a result of investigations by her unit, they discovered that eight previous cases of “accidental” death were in fact acts of murder.


She pointed out to a separate case in the town of Chamchamal, near Sulaimani, Kurdistan’s second largest city, where a woman was buried apparently for having died of severe burning.


“But later it became clear that the woman was strangled and then burned and there were traces of beating on her body as well,” said Omar who added that the suspects were detained later.


In another case the burned body of a woman was discovered near Erbil and authorities discovered that her father had killed her and brother who were later arrested by police.


Omar says people’s confidence in her directorate has been growing year after year due to the awareness campaigns launched by various groups.


“Our follow-ups are serious and have had an effect. We are now trying to detain the killers of women. Anybody who has information on killing or burning women or the whereabouts of suspects should inform us to follow up on them. We try to reopen old pages and discover the facts. We have even published the photos of fugitive suspects,” she added.


Omar hailed the current position of the political parties in Kurdistan who no longer shelter those who murder women and that has led to the arrestment of many of the murders.


Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan:

Soran Bahadin

November 6, 2010




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