Moral Low Ground


Police: Yemeni Man Burns Daughter to Death for Talking to Fiancé Before Marriage

Taiz Yemen

Police in Yemen say a father burned his 15-year-old daughter to death because she had been in contact with her fiancé prior to their weeding.

BBC reports the unnamed 35-year-old man was arrested after the girl’s death in the remote village of Shabaa, Taiz province, in southwestern Yemen.

According to police, “the father committed this heinous crime on the pretext that his daughter had been keeping in contact with her fiancé.”

Local media reported the couple had been talking on the telephone.

Traditional tribal customs in Yemen, a Muslim nation of 24 million on the southwestern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, forbid contact between men and women before marriage. So-called ‘honor killings,’ in which relatives murder girls and women who they perceive to have brought shame or dishonor upon the family, are fairly common, with perpetrators often facing light, if any, punishment.

Compounding problems is the fact that child marriage is a major problem in Yemen. Many Yemenis marry off their young daughters, often to older men, to collect dowries and avoid paying for their upbringing. According to United Nations data cited by Human Rights Watch, around one in seven Yemeni girls marry before the age of 15, depriving them of their educations and often subjecting them to husbands and their families who rape, abuse and even kill them– sometimes by severely injuring them while taking their virginity or during other sexual activity.

Last month, an 8-year-old girl named Rawan from Meedi, Hajjah province who was forced to marry a 40-year-old man died from internal bleeding on her wedding night, setting off furious international condemnation of the practice of marrying young girls. Yemeni authorities say they are investigating the case.

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