Aya Al-Baradiya disappeared in April 2010, her remains not found until a year after her disappearance. Her uncle confessed to police that he had tied Aya up and drowned her in a well with the help of three friends; he said the murder was committed to protect the family‚Äôs honor.As a result of outrage against this murder, Palestinian President Abbas made an amendment to the Jordanian penal code that demands men only receive a maximum sentence of six months in prison if they plea the case of honor.
The amendment to Jordanian Article 240, was backed by seventy-five percent of Palestinians, issued by President Abbas May 16, 2011 states, ‘this does not include the killing of women for issues of family honor.’
The amendment allows the judge to make the final decision on whether the murder was a case of protecting the family‚Äôs honor. The amendment will still need to be approved by the Palestinian Parliament, according to Maan News Agency.
Rania Al-Sinjilawi told Maan News that this amendment ‘does not contribute much to stop the killings because the question of whether the motive was honor or not remains at the judge’s discretion.’
Aya‚Äôs mother said that the decree gave her some consolation, ‚ÄúHer blood didn’t go to waste. She died for the sake of the girls in Palestine and in the world.’
The reasons behind the killings are still somewhat unclear. The uncle told police that it was due to his disapproval of a marriage proposal.
While other claims have been that Aya rejected a marriage proposal by the uncle‚Äôs son, or that the uncle strongly disapproved of Aya‚Äôs pursuit for college education.
Honor killings are not uncommon in conservative Palestinian. Between 2007 and 2010 twenty-nine women have been murdered, all claiming the defense of honor.
Violence against women is a worldwide crisis that is not exclusive to the Arab world.