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Life sentence upheld for man who gouged wife’s eyes

By Rana Husseini - Oct 14,2021 - Last updated at Oct 14,2021

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

AMMAN — The Court of Cassation upheld a May Criminal Court’s ruling sentencing a 33-year-old man to life in prison after convicting him of the premeditated attempted murder of his wife by gouging her eyes in Jerash in November 2019.

Fatmeh Abu Akleek, 38, a mother of three, was attacked by her husband, who is also her cousin, 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.

According to the court verdict, the couple had been married for 13 years and had constant marital problems, which prompted 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 the 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.

The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital where attending  physicians at the hospital determined that the injuries were life-threatening and she survived due to medical interference, the court papers added.

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

However, the NIPM ruled that the defendant was sane and fit to stand trial.

The victim’s lawyer Eva Abu Halaweh told The Jordan Times on Thursday that the Court of Cassation’s verdict “represents true justice for my client”.

“Hopefully this verdict will be published everywhere so that it will work as a deterrent factor for any individual who harms any member of his/her family,” Abu Halaweh said.

The verdict is also an important indicator to “how the justice system is dealing with cases of domestic violence against women and children,” Abu Halaweh added.

The defendant contested the Criminal Court’s ruling arguing that the “prosecution failed to provide solid evidence to prove that the defendant’s action caused threats to the victim’s life”.

“The defendant’s actions caused permanent disabilities for the victim, but he never plotted to kill her,” the lawyer argued.

The Criminal Court’s attorney general asked the higher court to uphold the ruling. 

However, the higher court decided to uphold the Criminal Court’s ruling against the defendant stating that the court’s proceedings were accurate and that the defendant was given the appropriate punishment.

The Criminal Court also relied on experts' testimonies, who said that the victim’s life was in danger and that she survived the attack following medical interventions, the higher court stated.

The Cassation Court bench comprised judges Mohammad Ibrahim, Yassin Abdullat, Nayef Samarat, Hammad Ghzawi and Qassem Dughmi.

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

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

The women’s movement also organised a sit-in following the incident 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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