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COVID-19 and femicide: Four reported cases since the start of 2021

11-2-2021

The number of domestic violence victims in Lebanon is expected to increase further, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the repeated closures it imposes, noting that the statistics of the security forces had shown that with the beginning of quarantine, rates of reporting violence increased, while indicating an increase of 122 % in the rate of violence reporting within 2 months (https://bit.ly/2MN889K). In this context, local media channels monitored four murders whose victims are women and girls from Beirut, Akkar, Mount Lebanon and Bekaa. In Beirut, Zeina Kanjo, young Lebanese model was found dead on January 30, strangled in her home. Her husband, Ibrahim Ghazal, the prime suspect, fled to Istanbul shortly after the murder and started leaking news of infidelity as an attempt to divert attention from the crime, which is punishable by death, as said victim’s attorney, Ashraf Mousawi. Mousawi hoped the Lebanese judiciary could talk the Turkish authorities into handing over the convict. Kafa lawyer, Leila Awada, said it is not possible to end domestic violence crimes completely, but that they can be reduced by addressing the clear motives behind them. In other words, the patriarchal social and legal system and the notion of authorizing males in the family to act as guardians and according them full power to take any action against female members who challenge their rules. On February 9, a husband lies in wait for his wife at her parents’ house in the neighborhood of Hay el Sullam and stabs her with sharp objects tearing her lungs and severely wounding her liver simply because he refuses to divorce her. In Bekaa, journalist Joe Maalouf, revealed that the 7-year-old Tracey was assaulted and beaten by her step-mother while lying in hospital and an investigation was reportedly opened into the incident. In Akkar, the husband discovers his wife stabbed to death in the backyard. Security forces recovered the body and arrested the assailant, who is the victim’s nephew. (Al-Akhbar, Annahar, Addiyar, 23 Jan, 1,4 Feb 2021)

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