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Sham justice: On the trial of Saleh Hama Ali in Iraqi-Kurdistan

Press release 18 June 2009

Banaz Mahmod was gang-raped and killed in a brutal ‘honour’ killing in January 2006. Her father Mahmod Mahmod, her uncle Ari Mahmod and one of his associates are currently in prison for their part in the crime. However these men did not perpetrate their crime alone. The UK police have been trying to extradite two further suspects, Mohammed Saleh Ali and Omar Hussain, who fled to the Kurdish region of Iraq back to the UK. These men must face the same system of justice that has put Ari and Mahmod Mahmod behind bars.

The Government of Iraq has agreed to extradite the two men. However, the Kurdistan Regional Government refuses to do so, preferring to hold a show trial of Mohammed Saleh Ali. IKWRO is concerned that this trial has little hope of achieving true justice. In many of the Kurdish regions murder and violence are still seen as legitimate methods of enforcing male dominance over women. Indeed Banaz Mahmod’s family has already withdrawn the case against Ali.

Just as in the case of Du’a Khalil Aswad, who died in an infamous public stoning in Bashiqa, we assert that the family has no right to decide whether or not the murderers go on trial. Banaz Mahmod and Du’a Khalil Aswad deserve justice, whatever decision their families make. Women deserve justice.

“We are calling on the Kurdish Regional Government to allow the United Kingdom to extradite Saleh Hama Ali, and to prevent Iraqi-Kurdistan from becoming a haven for so-called ‘honour’ killers -and a hell for women” said Diana Nammi, Director of IKWRO today. “We are calling for justice for Banaz. We ask all individuals and organisations to join their voice with ours in this campaign.”

Notes to editors:
The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) is a UK registered charity which provides advice and support to women and girls who face so-called ‘honour’ killings. Through our Justice for Banaz campaign IKWRO has highlighted police failings in dealing with Banaz before her death, and is calling for all those involved in her murder to be brought to justice.

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IKWRO is a registered charity number 1104550 founded in 2002. We are committed to providing non-judgmental support to women who speak Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, Dari, Pashtu and English.

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