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Man gets life in prison for gouging wife’s eyes

By Rana Husseini - May 19,2021 - Last updated at May 19,2021

AMMAN — The Criminal Court sentenced a 33-year-old man to life in prison after convicting him of the premeditated attempted murder by gouging the eyes of his wife in Jerash in November 2019, a senior judicial source said on Tuesday.

Fatmeh Abu Akleek, 38, a mother of three, was attacked by her husband following a domestic dispute while at their home on November 6 in Jerash, some 45 kilometres north of Amman. 

The victim’s eyes were gouged, and she lost her vision as a result.

“The Criminal Court, which issued the verdict on Monday, decided to pass the highest sentence against the defendant because of the horrendous incident that left the woman with permanent disabilities,” the senior judicial source told The Jordan Times.

Meanwhile, Fatmeh praised Monday’s verdict in a telephone interview with The Jordan Times saying it brought “a closure” to her.

“I am content with the outcome of the case and felt that it was a just verdict,” she said.

Fatmeh added that she was pressured by her husband’s family to waive her legal rights before and during the trial, but she refused.

“I wanted justice and I got it. I also want this verdict to be a lesson for anyone who would think of harming his wife or any family member,” she added.

According to the court verdict, the couple had constant marital problems prompting Fatmeh to file an alimony case against the defendant at a Sharia Court.

“The victim’s actions caused the defendant to become enraged, and he plotted to kill her,” court papers said.

On the day of the incident, the court maintained, the two had dinner and went to sleep, later the defendant woke the victim up claiming he wanted to talk with her.

“The defendant drew a knife and attempted to kill his wife, but she managed to defend herself,” according to court papers.

The couple’s three children woke up and attempted to help their mother, the court said.

The defendant ushered his two sons, 11 and 13, out of the room, but their daughter, who was two-and-a-half-years-old remained in the room with her mother, the court added.

The defendant then grabbed a charcoal tong and “gouged his wife’s eyes with it in the presence of their daughter,” according to the court.

During the trial, the court had referred the defendant to the National Institute of Psychological Medicine (NIPM) for mental health evaluation based on his lawyer’s request, according to the victim’s lawyer Eva Abu Halaweh.

However, the NIPM ruled that the defendant was sane and fit to stand trial, Abu Halaweh told The Jordan Times.

“Monday’s verdict was fair and we are content with it,” Abu Halaweh said.

“Hopefully this verdict would work as a deterrent factor for any individual who harms any member of his/her family,” she said.

Abu Halaweh, who also represented the victim in the Sharia Court, added that the court earlier this year had agreed to divorce the victim from her husband and granted her full financial rights and dowry.

“The Sharia Court also granted the victim her full rights and this was an important accomplishment for us,” Abu Halaweh said.

The Criminal Court’s General Attorney office had issued a gag order shortly after the incident took place restricting the publication of any news on the matter to protect the investigation procedures.

Monday’s verdict will automatically be reviewed by the Court of Cassation within the next 30 days.

The incident sent shockwaves across the Kingdom, with many describing it as a “barbaric and evil” incident.

The women’s movement organised a sit-in on Saturday under the theme “Enough” near the Prime Ministry, during which over 300 men and women called for better legal and social protection for women subjected to domestic violence.

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