Yesterday Banaz Mahmod’s father and uncle were jailed for life for her “honour” killing. It emerged that not only was the poor girl garrotted and buried in a suitcase, but that she was subjected to a two-hours of rape and torture beforehand.
Her uncle supervised as male members of the family sexually degraded her, beat her and stamped on her neck when the wire used to strangle her proved ineffective. Even after all that it took over half an hour for her soul and life to leave her body according to one of the participants in this orgy of violence and cruelty.
Reading this story my first reaction was one of anger. Fury actually. What kind of culture teaches men to treat women like this? And then call it honour?
Then I started to think about punishment. What can the punishment be for such a heinous act? The uncle and father (pictured) are going to serve twenty-odd years in prison. In my view that’s too good for them. There they will be fed, have a roof over their heads and sent to a doctor should they fall ill. They will live better than many of their Kurdish counterparts do in Iraq and elsewhere in the world.
Is the death penalty the answer? Ideologically I am opposed to it, but in this case….No, even that’s too good for them. So what can one do? In some societies a thief has his hand cut off for stealing an apple. What happens to a father who has organsied the gang rape, torture and brutal murder of his daughter I wonder? Probably not much.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007