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Hundreds brave rains to say ‘enough’ to violence against women

Husband of Jerash victim to face attempted murder charge — judicial source

By Rana Husseini - Nov 16,2019 - Last updated at Nov 16,2019

Jordanians stage a sit-in near the Prime Ministry on Saturday to call for better legal and social protection for women subjected to domestic violence (Photo by Rana Husseini)

AMMAN — Over 300 men, women and children staged a sit-in near the Prime Ministry on Saturday to call for better legal and social protection for women subjected to domestic violence.

The sit-in, under the theme “Enough”, was organised by the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) and other women's groups following an alleged assault by a 31-year-old husband against his wife last week, which caused the victim to lose her vision.

The November 6 incident occurred in Jerash, when the husband reportedly gouged the eyes of his wife, Fatmeh Abu Akleek, a mother of three children, following a domestic dispute.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, a senior judicial source told The Jordan Times that the Jerash Criminal Court prosecutor has decided to level attempted-murder charges against the suspect after receiving further medical reports. The case will be referred to the Criminal Court's General Attorney's office, and he will be tried at the Criminal Court in  Amman. 

Standing under heavy rain for most of the 90-minute protest, the gathering chanted: “Justice for Fatmeh… This is for your eyes Fatmeh… No to early marriage… We want better laws to protect victims of domestic violence.”

Rihab Abu Akleek, Fatmeh’s 28-year-old sister, told The Jordan Times that she "trusts the judicial system in Jordan and that it will exert the maximum punishment for the crime he committed against my sister”.

“We will not drop our legal charges against him, and he should be punished severely for his evil act,” Abu Akleek said of her sister’s husband.

She added that “her sister’s spirit was down”, but when she was reunited with her two boys, aged 11 and 9, and her 30-month-old daughter, she “felt a bit better”.

“My sister’s main concern now is how to take care of her children, how she will raise them and help them with all the necessary life requirements,” she added.

The Jerash Criminal Court prosecutor originally charged the husband with causing permanent disability, a crime that could land him a prison term ranging from three to 15 years in prison.  

Fatmeh's lawyer, Eva Abu Halaweh, had expressed hopes that “the government will reconsider all the laws that are related to domestic violence and make the necessary amendments to stiffen the punishments against gender-based violence perpetrators”.

JNCW Secretary General Salma Nims said that “the women’s movement’s 20 years of continuous struggle to call for a strong social protection system failed”.

“The culture of violence still exists today and we are still unable to tackle and face it in the right manner,” Nims told The Jordan Times.

Nims added that she is hopeful that “the government will allocate budgets to form certain strategies and mechanisms that allow for better protection for an abused woman to live in dignity and pride when she is no longer able to continue to live with an abusive husband”.

Jerash MP Wafa Bani Mustafa told The Jordan Times that “the crime that happened in Jerash showed that there are some disorders in the social protection system, especially when it comes to family protection”.

“We want better laws that ensure more protection for women and children, and I will personally collect signatures from my fellow MPs to amend laws related to family violence to better protect victims of domestic violence,” Bani Mustafa said.

Twenty-five-year-old Batoul, a lawyer, said that she participated in the sit-in to “call for my rights; women’s rights in Jordan”.

“We still have a lot to achieve when it comes to women’s rights in Jordan and I came today to add my voice to the hundreds who are calling for better laws for women and to stand in solidarity with Fatmeh,” Batoul told The Jordan Times.

Suhail Jildeh, a 21-year-old university student, said he decided to attend the sit-in and voice his objection to “what happened to Fatmeh and for the women who are being persecuted and killed in our society”.

“Women do not enjoy full equality in our society and I am here to support calls for better protection and laws for women in my country,” Jildeh told The Jordan Times. 

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