Cairo: Egyptian prosecutors on Tuesday ordered an urgent trial for a man charged with murdering his wife and their four children in a high-profile honour killing case, legal sources said.
The killings, committed more than a month ago in the Cairo suburb of Al Shorouq, have sent chill through the country and sounded the alarm over a purported rise in domestic violence.
The suspect, identified only as Karam, admitted in investigations to have killed his wife for allegedly cheating on him by having an extramarital affair with his ex-employer, the sources added.
The suspect, who works as a building janitor, also said he had killed the four children over suspicions of their parentage. He laced their tea cups with sleeping pills before decapitating them and fleeing to his hometown in Sohag, south of Cairo. He was later arrested him.
Recent DNA tests proved that he is the father of the four children aged eight, five, four and two years.
If convicted, the 34-year-old man could be sentenced to death.
The prosecutors also referred to trial the ex-employer suspected of having an illicit relation with the murdered wife.
Two others will stand trial in the same case for inciting the husband to commit the multiple beheadings allegedly to avenge his honour, the sources added. No specific date has been set yet for the start of the trial.
The case has thrust into focus domestic violence against women in the country.
Around 46 per cent of married women aged 18 to 64 years in Egypt have experienced some form of spousal violence, according to a 2016 official survey.
At least 18 per cent of adult Egyptian women have been subjected to physical or sexual violence by family members or close acquaintences, according to the same survey.
Egypt’s state National Council for Women has set up a hotline to receive complaints from women.