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10-year jail term upheld for man who murdered pregnant sister

By Rana Husseini - Dec 02,2017 - Last updated at Dec 02,2017

AMMAN — The Court of Cassation has upheld a July Criminal Court verdict sentencing a 27-year-old man to 10 years in prison after convicting him of murdering his pregnant sister over “lost virginity” claims in an Amman neighbourhood in June 2014.

The court, which amended the premeditated murder charges to manslaughter, declared the defendant guilty of murdering his 21-year-old relative by choking her to death with a towel on June 14, and handed him a 20-year prison term.

However, the court decided to reduce the sentence to half because the victim’s family dropped charges against the defendant.

Court papers said the sister and her husband were married for three years and-a-half before the incident. The victim’s husband claimed that “his wife, a mother of a three-year-old child, was involved in an illegitimate affair before their marriage and that she was not a virgin”.

“The couple had a domestic dispute one day before the murder and, as a result, the victim’s husband informed her brothers that she was not a virgin when he married her and the defendant decided to murder her,” court papers said.

On the day of the murder, the court maintained, the defendant went to the building where the family resided at and entered the apartment his sister was staying at.

“He went to the kitchen and asked his sister, who was five-month pregnant, about her husband’s claims but she did not answer so he strangled her with a towel until he made sure she was dead,” court documents said.

After he left the kitchen, the defendant informed his family members that he “murdered his sister” and headed to the nearest police station where he turned himself in, according to court documents.  

The defendant had argued that he “should benefit from a reduction in penalty because he murdered his sister to cleanse the family’s honour because she was not a virgin”, according to the court verdict.

However, the higher court rejected his claims and stated that the Criminal Court’s ruling was accurate and the defendant deserved the punishment.

“The defendant’s actions were based on hearsay and there is nothing to prove the husband’s allegations. Therefore, the defendant does not benefit from a reduction in penalty,” the Court of Cassation ruled.

The Court of Cassation tribunal comprised judges Mohammad Ibrahim, Majed Azab, Naji Zubi, Nayef Samart and Bassem Mubeidin.     

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