Dubai: A Jordanian father, who killed his daughter and then sat next to her body drinking tea and smoking a cigarette, is being tried before the grand criminal court in Amman on charges of premeditated murder.
The 30-year-old woman has suffered years of physical abuse by her father and brothers, reported local media.
The horrific murder of Ahlam has triggered widespread outrage in Jordan amid calls for justice after a chilling video of her screams as her father was beating her went viral on Friday evening.
According to eyewitnesses, on Friday evening, the father, in his 60s, smashed his daughter’s head with a cement block as Ahlam was running out of her home and screaming for help.
A Twitter user wrote: “It appears that she was trying to escape from her family while they were beating her. Ahlam begged her mother to intervene, but she remained silent. Her head was crushed with a brick until she died, adding that neighbours tried to intervene and had contacted the police, but they arrived too late.”
An anonymous account on social media explained that Ahlam was in jail. “The victim had been in jail for a month on charges of misdemeanour. The father of Ahlam reported her to the police and later paid her bail so she will be released,” he said.
Following the circulation of the video, which seems to have been taken by one of the neighbours, a backlash and several complaints poured into social media platforms under two hashtags: #Screams_ of _Ahlam, and #Ahlam_Was_Betrayed, calling to end the so-called honour killing in Jordan.
‘Who is next?’
Many took to social media to express their outrage, with some asking how many more women should be murdered for honour killings to be addressed and stopped in Jordan.
Witnesses said that the neighbours heard an unusual screaming at 9pm. They looked out of their windows, and saw the victim running in the street with blood all over her body.
“Blood was all over her body. Her father then chased her and knocked her head with a block and beat her to death in front of the neighbours who rushed outside their homes when hearing the victim’s screaming for help,” eyewitnesses told local media.
Witnesses added that the father smoked a cigarette and drank tea next to his daughter’s body afterwards.
According to a police statement, a report was sent to the operation room of the Balqa governorate police directorate two days prior to the murder, outlining that a woman in her 30s had been assaulted by her father – indicating the authorities were aware she could be at risk.
Another Twitter user said: “I will choose to tweet in English because apparently when this becomes international news, the Jordanian officials and government start paying attention and fear for their reputation and how to salvage that.”
Musician Ghiya Rushidat tweeted: “What is happening in this world? I thought these types of crimes were left behind and that humans have progressed intellectually. I hate that I exist in a world were honour, reputation, and the reputation of fathers and brothers are more important that an actual human life.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “Many compared Ahlam’s death to the honour killing of Israa Ghrayeb, a Palestinian from Bethlehem who was killed in August last year after allegedly posting a photo with her fiancé. Dr. Salma Nims, Secretary-General of the Jordanian National Commission for Women, said: “The entire system in Jordan is flawed”.
“What we need is to work on improving the whole system from legislation to social attitude. The role of the government is to provide women with protection and the ability to move on. “Women can stay in safe houses for three months, then they are told to find a place to stay, which is when some are forced to go back to the violence. It is the government’s job to empower these women and help them become independent,” Dr Nims added.