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Court upholds 10-year jail term for man who stabbed sister to death over ‘family honour’

By Rana Husseini - Feb 28,2017 - Last updated at Feb 28,2017

AMMAN — The Court of Cassation has upheld a recent Criminal Court ruling sentencing a 20-year-old man to 10 years in prison for murdering his teenage sister, claiming “family honour”, in Zarqa in April 2014.

The defendant was first handed a 20-year prison term by the Criminal Court after he was found guilty of stabbing his 17-year-old sister to death in a street in Zarqa, some 22km northeast of Amman, on April 30.

However, the same tribunal immediately reduced the sentence to half because the victim’s parents decided to drop charges against their son.

The court also decided to amend the premeditated murder to manslaughter after concluding that “he did not plot to kill his sister”.

Court documents said the defendant had prior knowledge of his “sister’s bad behaviour and that she would often leave her family’s home for undisclosed locations”.

On April 30, the defendant stabbed his sister to death with a switchblade, hitting her in the chest and stomach while standing opposite a mosque in Zarqa, the seven-page verdict said.

The defendant then took his sister to a hospital and left her there, then “later returned to treat his arm for injuries he sustained while stabbing her”, according to court papers.

Police became suspicious and questioned him about his wounds, and discovered that he was the perpetrator in the stabbing death, the court papers added.

In his confession to the authorities, the defendant claimed “family honour” as his motive, “since his sister had been involved in an affair with a man, and they were married by the governor some six months before the incident”.

The victim’s husband was recently sent to prison, and the “brother decided to murder his sister”, officials told The Jordan Times shortly after the incident occurred.

The defendant contested his verdict, asking for a reduction in penalty as stipulated in Article 98 of the Penal Code, claiming to have murdered his sibling in a fit of rage to “cleanse his family’s honour”.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Court attorney general contested the Criminal Court ruling and its decision to amend the premeditated murder charges to manslaughter, asking for a higher punishment.

“The defendant had prior knowledge of his sister’s behaviour and constant absence from her family’s home, and that it is clear that he plotted the murder,” the attorney general said.

However, the Cassation Court ruled that the verdict was correct and that the defendant received the proper punishment.

“The defendant had prior knowledge of the victim’s behaviour and absence from home and had accompanied her on several occasions after she was found by the authorities to their family’s home,” the higher court ruled.

Therefore, the higher court added, “the defendant does not benefit from a reduction in penalty as stipulated in Article 98 because he did not commit the murder in a moment of rage, but at the spur of the moment”, the Cassation Court said.


The Cassation Court’s tribunal comprised judges Yassin Abdullat, Mohammad Tarawneh, Daoud Tubieleh, Bassem Mubeidin and Hussein Sakran. 

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