Roundup of reports on honour-based violence and violent incidents involving women in Kurdistan Region, February 2008
Compiled and translated by Nazaneen Rashid (KWRW)
Edited by Dr Katharine Hodgkin (KWRW)
The following is a record of local media reports of incidents of violence against women in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, February 2008. It includes honour murder, suspected murders as well as suicide involving self-immolation.
Field research suggests that suicide among women in Kurdistan is honour-related. Women are put under pressure and pushed to commit suicide as a way of purifying the family honour and also to avoid prosecution. Since the reform of the Iraqi Penal Code initiated by the Iraqi Kurdish authorities, researchers confirm that suicide among women has increased in Iraqi Kurdistan. Almost all the women who were registered as having committed suicide died by fire. In some cases the death is registered as death following a “fire incident”, arousing suspicion about the incidents, which always involve women. Frequently women are burned in incidents involving Paramiz kerosene cookers; these are used for making bread or for heating water in the bathroom. They have no safety measures, and explode very fast.
KWRW has not been able to check the accuracy of these reports. They are taken from the following sources:
Print newspapers and journals
* Hawlati: Independent twice-weekly newspaper published in Sulaymaniyah.
* Hawal: Independent weekly newspaper reportedly affiliated to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), published in Kirkuk.
* Jamawar: Independent weekly newspapers published in Arbil.
* Aso: Daily newspaper reportedly sponsored by Iraqi Deputy PM Barham Salih, published in Baghdad.
* Awene: Independent weekly newspaper published in Sulaymaniyah.
* Kurdistani Nuwe: Daily newspaper published by PUK in Sulaymaniyah.
* Rewan, Twice-monthly journal published by Women’s Cultural and Information Centre, Sulaymaniyah.
* Jiyanawa, Kurdistan Women’s Union monthly journal, Sulaymaniyah.
* Kurdistan Report: Daily political and social newspaper sponsed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)
* Kurdistan Online
* Peyamner : Pro-KDP
* PUK Media: PUK-sponserd website
* Sbeiy: Sponsored by Wisha Company, owned by former PUK Deputy Leader Nawshirwan Mustafa
I. Reports of murders or suspected murders
Peyamner, February 2 2008: The body of an unknown woman was found near Bastora collective town north of Hawler city. A source at Hawler Emergency Hospital in a special statement for Peyamner said that police were informed by local people that an unknown body had been found, and the body was brought to the hospital. Police have not been able to identify the woman, as she has no ID on her. Police estimated her age at around 20 years old. There are numerous bullet wounds in her body. According to Brigadier Abulkhaliq Talat, director of Hawler police, so far the police have no information concerning the motive for the murder. The police have opened a dossier on the case.
Peyamner, February 2 2008: Peyamner news agency has been informed that in Bna Slawa, Dashti Hawler, a man named Karzan shot and killed his sister with a Kalashnikov machine gun, as a result of a family dispute. The sister, identified by her initials (S.H), was 22 years old. The bullets hit her in the stomach and she died at the scene. Her body was taken to the emergency hospital in Hawler by her relatives. The brother has disappeared, and is still on the run. From the primary evidence it seems the motive for the murder was a family issue, but no details have been given. The police have opened a dossier on the case.
Peyamner, February 7 2008: In Berkut district, Hawler city, a man named Ibrahim killed his wife Kazhal, shooting her with his Kalashnikov machine gun. According to her relatives she was murdered because of a family dispute. Her body was sent to Rezgari Hospital, Hawler, where initial reports indicate that she died as a result of being hit by five bullets. A search for the husband is continuing.
Peyamner, February 9 2008: In Halaja, near Qushtapa, south of Hawler city, the body of an unknown woman has been found. Police have not been able to identify her. She is estimated to be in her thirties. Her body was sent to Rezgari Hospital in Hawler, and the initial examination indicates numerous bullets in her body.
Jiyanawa, February 10 2008: A 19-year-old girl identified only by her initials (B.H) who was working at Baziyan Salt factory has died in mysterious circumstances. Baziyan police sources told Zhyanawa that her death was the result of an argument with her father over the use of the kerosene cooker and the risk that it might blow up. However the same source stated that five empty bullet cases were found in the place of the incident, and there were bullet marks visible on her head. Her father and her brother have been arrested, and the investigation is ongoing.
Rewan, February 14 2008: In Khati village, Balisyan County, a 21-old-girl was killed by a bullet. Her father said the gun went off accidentally. According to Mr. Kawa, the director of the police station in Balisyan, the father of the murdered girl initially refused to send her body to the forensic medicine centre for examination. After two hours’ negotiation the father was forced to agree to release the body to the forensic medicine centre, and police are now awaiting the centre’s report. There is also some uncertainty over the girl’s mother’s statement: she told police that the shooting was an accident, not intentional, but she also said that she was not at home at the time of the incident.
Kurdistani Nuwe, February 19 2008: Kurdistan, a 20-year-old girl, was shot by a man at her home in Raparin district Raniya city on 4 February.
Ganjani Darbandikhan, February 25 2008: The body of a woman was found in a well in Tuzkhurmatu by workers cleaning the wells in the area. The police were informed, but have been unable to identify her as she had no papers on her. Her body has been taken to the forensic medicine centre.
Rewan, March 1 2008: The strangled body of a pregnant woman was discovered at home in Hajji Awa, Raniya city. Sources close to the incident stated that the body was found on February 28, and it is not clear whether the death was suicide or murder. The victim’s family suspects the husband, who has been arrested. According to a relative, the dead woman had problems with her husband, and there were handprints on her neck; the relative also said that in a previous fight between the couple the husband had tried to shoot his wife. The woman had previously eloped with this man, and had claimed protection from the local Agha (chief of tribe) until they were reconciled with her family.
Rewan , March 1 2008: The body of a woman who died from bullet wounds was found by a police flyer squad on February 27 2008 in Kewa-Rash, Raniya city. According to information the woman was wearing a long red skirt and a black jacket. There are marks of beating on her body, and also marks of handcuffs are apparent on her hands.
II. Reports of women burned, committing suicide, and similar incidents
Kurdistani Nuwe, February 3 2008: Colonel Nariman Aziz, the chief of Azmer Police Station, told Kurdistani Nuwe that the police were informed at 6pm of the body of a 23-year-old woman at the forensic medicine centre in Sulaimaniya. The body is said to be that of a third year student at university, who killed herself. According to the same source the girl strangled herself with her scarf, and died on the way to hospital. Information obtained by Kurdistani Nuwe indicates that she was engaged, and had repeatedly tried to persuade her fiancé to marry her, but he refused because he was not ready financially.
Kurdistani Nuwe, February 4 2008: An 18-year-old girl from Kani Maran village, Hajji Awa County, set light to herself on February 1 because of social problems. She died the following day. The girl’s brother, Ibrahim Muhammad, told Kurdistani Nuwe that her sister refused to be taken to hospital. After her death the body was taken to hospital, and police are investigating the case.
Peyamner, February 7 2008: In Bashiran village, Barda Rash town, Dunia Sherzad set herself on fire because she was angry with her husband and her husband’s other wife. Dunia told police that her husband and his wife had treated her badly for a long time, and so she set herself alight. She has lodged a complaint against both of them. The doctor’s report from the emergency hospital said that her condition has deteriorated; she suffered 100% burns, and is in a critical condition.
Kurdistan Online, February 8 2008: Bahra Ahmad Muhammad, a 27-year-old woman from Qalati Raniya with one child, died following conflict in the family. Her child was taken away from her by her mother-in-law, while her husband was serving as a soldier in Baghdad, and she burned herself in front of her mother-in-law. She suffered a high percentage of burns and died immediately.
Peyamner, February 9 2008: A source from Hawler emergency hospital stated that, in Shurish district of Hawler city, for unknown reasons, an 18-year-old girl called Norhan Rashid killed herself by shooting herself in the head. Her body was sent to the forensic medicine centre at Rezgari Hospital for investigation.
Kurdistan Report, February 12 2008: A 14-year-old girl, Avin Ahmad Ibrahim, who lives in Raparin district of AW Hajji, was transferred to Sulaimaniya hospital suffering from a high percentage of burns. The girl’s family say that she caught fire accidentally when a heater blew up. The police investigation is continuing.
Peyamner, February 14 2008: In Tyrawa district, Hawler city, a girl hanged herself with a rope in the yard of her house. According to her relatives, she was married a month ago, and has had no problems with her husband or his family. Colonel Zhilamo, the leader of the police unit for combating violence against women, told Peyamner that so far the reasons for the hanging are not known, and the investigation is continuing.
Jiyanawa, February 17 2008: A 27-year-old woman in Raniya city set herself on fire. The woman’s brother said that she burned herself because of anger at her husband; the husband neglected his family, and this caused problems between them. The woman’s family say they will make a complaint against the husband.
Jamawar, February 18 2008: the paper gave a round-up of a number of recent incidents of burning, as follows:
• February 9 2008, in Serti collective town: a woman identified by her initials (B.N) poured petrol on herself and set herself alight at her home. She was taken to Amedy emergency hospital, and from there she was transferred to Duhok emergency hospital; but because of the high percentage of burns suffered she died on February 15.
• February 11 in Hetoyeti collective town, Deraluk county: a girl in class six of Badan primary school identified by her initials (Sh. Sh) burned herself at her home. She suffered a high percentage of burns, and was sent to the emergency hospital.
• February 12: a Christian woman aged 37 from Ankawa city, identified by her initials (H.G), set light to herself at her house. She is in a good condition.
• February 12 in Zaniyari district, Hawler city: a 16-year-old student identified by her initials (R.M) suffered burns when the kerosene heater blew up while she was filling it. She was sent to hospital.
• February 14 in Ankawa district, Hawler city: a 42-year-old woman identified by her initials (D. Y.) suffered burns because of a gas explosion.
• February 14: a 73-year-old Christian woman, initials B.Y, in Eskan district, suffered burns because of a blaze in the oil-burning stove.
• Another widow with three children in Raniya died as a result of severe burns.
Kurdistani Nuwe, February 19 2008: this paper also gave a round-up of recent cases of burning and violence against women:
• February 3: a 15-year-old girl from Daraban village was burned, and died at the hospital from the high percentage of burns.
• On Valentine’s day an 18-year-old girl from Qaladizy was stabbed with a knife by her brother. She was taken to hospital.
• Also on Valentine’s day a 16-year-old girl from Raniya was viciously attacked by one of her brothers, who kicked and beat her. She is under intensive care at the hospital.
Kurdistan Report, February 19 2008: In Gulakiyani district, Chwar Quran county, Gula Ibrahim Salah, a 40-year- old woman with two children, burned herself in her bathroom and died. Police source from of Raniya Hospital said that according to her family, Gula was suffering from psychological problems, and that is why she committed suicide. However, a source close to Gula told Kurdistan Report that Gula did not suffer from psychological problems; she was a widow, and it seems she burned herself out of anger against her family.
Peyamner, February 19 2008: Bnar Mama, a 24-year-old woman from Koya city, set herself alight and suffered 95% burns. Her condition is critical and it is thought unlikely that she will survive. In her statement for police, she said that she was sick of her father and brother’s bad treatment of her. Investigations into the case are continuing.
Awene, February 19 2008: On 9th Feb in Kirkuk city a 21 year old girl suffered 65% of burns as a result of Kerosene heater blast. The girl died on 16th Feb in Sulamaniya emergency Hospital.
Peyamner, February 20 2008: Bekhal Ali, a 23-year-old woman, died after she suffered heavy burns in a cooker explosion in Kalar city.
Sebeiy, February 23 2008: On the main road between Dokan and Tasluja, near Kanikhan village, three young men in a BMW car with a Hawler number plate kidnapped and stabbed an Arab woman. Witnesses said they saw suspicious movements in the car when they approached it, and they saw the woman with knife wounds. One of the men in the BMW, who seemed to be drunk, said no one should approach her, and they were going to take her to the hospital.
Peyamner, February 25 2008: In Dara Tu collective town, Hawler city, Fink Muhammad, a 19-year-old girl, set light to herself because of her brother’s bad treatment. She said that he beat her constantly, and that she was fed up with her life, and that was why she burned herself. Fink made no formal complaint against her brother. The police have opened a dossier on the case, and the investigation is continuing.
Peyamner, February 28 2008: In Shawase collective town, Hawler city, a woman burned herself because of conflicts with her husband. She died immediately as a result of the high percentage of burns. Colonel Zhilamo, the leader of the unit for combating violence against women, identified her by her initials (P. Kh.
A.), and stated that Investigation into the case is continuing. This is how it was
Awene, February 26 2008: A source from Azadi Hospital in Duhok stated that five women were admitted to the hospital following burning incidents between February 1-23, as follows:
• A 21-year-old girl from Amedy identified by her initials (Sh. H) suffered 95% burns. She died at the hospital. The source did not highlight the reason for her burns.
• In Shindokh a 18-year-old girl named by her initials (K. R) suffered 90% burns and died the next day at Azadi intensive care unit.
• A 21-year-old woman named by her initials (R.Y) suffered 75% burns. She was engaged to be married.
• A girl named Halat suffered 75% burns and died at the hospital. The reason for burning is unknown.
• On February 16 a girl with the initials K.H. suffered 90% burns and died the next day. The cause was said to be accident.
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