The horrific ‘honour killing’ by a Jordanian father of his daughter over the weekend has sparked protests, both online and in the streets.
Last Friday 30-year-old Ahlam was bludgeoned to death in the street by her father in a horrific incident that was captured on video.
Ahlam screamed and begged her mother to help, but she did not intervene. Witnesses say her father dropped a concrete block on her head before sitting down next to her body to drink a cup of tea and smoke a cigarette.
According to reports by local media, Ahlam is already the ninth woman in Jordan to have been murdered by family members this year.
“It’s very worrying how there are much more men in Jordan that would publicly admit to potentially murdering their daughter / sister than the amount of men that would publicly stand up for a woman’s right to simply not be murdered,” wrote one user.
“Ma fee [there is no] law in the H.K. of Jordan granting a woman the right to kill a male relative for “honour.” 1 year. They get 1 year for murder, which is often reduced further to 6 months if the family waive charges (which they usually do since it’s premeditated),” wrote another.
Honour killings in Jordan are treated more leniently than other killings. Penalties can be as little as one year especially when families, who are often complicit, request leniency.
Protesters have now taken to the streets of Jordan to demand revisions to the penal code and to end protection for perpetrators of honour killings.
According to Article 340 a reduced penalty is given for men who attack their wives or female relatives caught in the act of committing adultery.
Article 98 has the power to reduce this further when the crime is committed in “a state of great fury” after an “unlawful and dangerous act on the part of the victim.”
According to Human Rights Watch, every year, 15-20 women are burned, beaten or stabbed to death in Jordan by family members for transgressing the so-called social code of honour.
Equality Now’s MENA consultant Suad Abu-Dayyeh told MEMO there is a lot of anger about the murder of women but it is not enough.
“There needs to be an increase in the penalties faced by offenders who murder their female relatives, and this involves amending article 98 of the penal code.”
“The government should also work with local communities to build understanding that women’s rights are human rights. In addition, the male guardianship system puts women in a lower position within society and this needs to end.”
Under Jordan’s male guardianship system, women below 30 years of age require a male guardian’s permission to get married.
Jordanian authorities have imprisoned women for disobeying their male guardians or having relationships outside of marriage.
According to Amnesty International, women accused of leaving home without permission or having extramarital sex have been subject to virginity tests.