BEIRUT: Activists and human rights groups staged a brief protest outside Beirut’s Justice Palace in Adlieh Tuesday, demanding that a man convicted of beating his wife to death be given a longer sentence.
The rally, organized by local NGO KAFA (Enough) Violence and Exploitation, called for justice for Manal Assi and all women. “How can he be released after 18 months, as if he didn’t do anything? This is my daughter,” Nada Assi, Manal’s mother, told reporters.
Manal was killed in 2014 by her husband, Mohammad al-Nhaily. He was found guilty of bludgeoning Assi to death with a pressure cooker. Last month, Helene Iskandar, the presiding judge at the Beirut Criminal Court, reduced Nhaily’s sentence from the death penalty to five years in prison, after factoring in the extreme state of rage he purportedly experienced at the time of the murder. Given Lebanon’s nine-month judicial year and factoring in time served, Nhaily will be released in a little over a year’s time.
The sentence sparked an outcry from rights groups who described it as unacceptably lenient.
Nada previously dropped her right to press charges against Manal’s husband. She told Al-Jadeed that she did so due to pressure and fear for her children. However, she said: “I will not remain silent before those who speak badly about my daughter and her honor.”
Iqbal Doughan, president of the Working Women League in Lebanon, read a statement on behalf of Lebanese women’s rights organizations which stated that some men were “creative in creating means to murder women, and such a verdict was unacceptable.”
Doughan added that Manal’s case was a cause for all of society as well as future generations. “The right to live is a basic human right and we [women] have the right to hold onto it,” Doughan said, asking whether the blood of Manal and other victims was so cheap as to warrant such light sentencing.
KAFA released a statement on the case last week, noting that Tuesday was the first deadline to appeal the July 14 verdict. There is a second and final deadline next month. The group reported that the sentence was based on Article 252 of the penal code, which allows for reduced punishment if a crime occurred as a result of extreme rage caused by “dangerous and wrongful action committed by the victim.”
According to KAFA, Tuesday’s deadline passed without any filing. Layla Awada, a lawyer with the group, said that with the first deadline passed, there is little hope that the prosecutor will file by next month. “I do not know how much he will use that month to appeal, but we will see how it will work out,” she added.
Resigned Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi announced late last week that he had sent a memo to the office of the State Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, calling on it to appeal the decision if it saw legal reason to do so.
The mother of Rola Yaacoub, another woman who was allegedly murdered by her husband, told reporters at the rally that “our daughters have reached the grave because of taboos.” Rola Yaacoub was found comatose at her home in Halba, Akkar, in 2014, and died on arrival at the local hospital.
Some of Yaacoub’s relatives and neighbors have maintained that her husband, Karam al-Bazzi, beat his wife and five daughters on a regular basis. They have been campaigning since her death to have him charged with murder.
Source & Link : The Daily Star