Still No Justice For Murdered Iraqi Woman

Last summer, an Iraqi woman named Dalal, imprisoned to (reportedly) compel her brother to come in for questioning, was raped and impregnated by prison guards, then killed by her brother for it.

As today's LA Times reports, Dalal wrote her brother, asking for help after being raped by the guards, who apparently let her brother visit without questioning him in order to allow him to kill her and save them from getting in trouble. It worked, sort of.

The case might have ended there were it not for the morgue employee, who was determined to see those responsible held to account.

At the employee's insistence, lab workers using freshly acquired DNA-testing equipment drew a sample from the fetus. The prison guards were ordered to submit DNA samples and did so, apparently unaware of the sophistication of the morgue equipment and the people trained to use it.

"They thought we were incapable of figuring it out," said the morgue employee.

The DNA results showed that the father of the unborn baby was a police lieutenant colonel who reportedly supervised guards at the prison.

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Of course, in America the guards would have been guilty of rape even if the sex had been "consensual" because our laws delineate that prisoners cannot consent — and, if I recall correctly, we sort of wrote Iraqi laws after we took over the country. But, naturally, that isn't how it worked out for either the brother or the prison guards.

Yet other accounts say the matter was settled through tribal justice. The clan of the accused lieutenant colonel paid the woman's family to drop charges, said some people in the area who are familiar with the case but fearful of discussing it openly.

The morgue worker said those involved in the lab testing understood that all three of the police officers were freed.

"I heard the dispute was solved by a tribal ransom," the employee said.

"The issue bothers me a lot. I'm doing my job, and the bad guys are getting back on the street."

There are conflicting reports on the brother's status. Some say he was jailed for killing his sister. Others say he was freed as part of the tribal deal.

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The official story?

According to a judge in the Tikrit court, the lieutenant colonel implicated by DNA and a police captain also accused in the case were arrested on rape charges but then released for lack of evidence. The judge said a third defendant, a police lieutenant, remained in custody. (It is not uncommon in Iraq for police officers to serve as prison guards and supervisors.)

Another Tikrit court official said the lieutenant colonel and captain remained in custody but were transferred from Tikrit to Baghdad.

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Workers at the morgue say that sexual and domestic violence is up in Iraq, as it seems like many men find it easier to kill than divorce their wives. Some people say the situation for women in Iraq is worse than before the start of the war (and the subsequent American-led revisions of the legal codes).

"It's a lot worse now," said Ibtisam Hamody Azzawi, a former engineer who runs a small aid organization for abused women from her home in Baghdad.

"Our society witnessed so much war, and this is reflected in the domestic abuse situation.

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Team America, World Police.

In Iraq, A Story Of Rape, Shame And 'Honor Killing' [LA Times]

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