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Man accused of killing sister while on bail

Aug. 8, 2012 6:41 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 10, 2012 3:58 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- A man is being charged for the murder of his sister, who he is suspected of killing after he was released on bail facing charges of beating her.

Days before the death of Randa al-Mahareq, aged 34, her brother and father were detained after she complained to police that they beat her.

The men, from al-Samu near Hebron, were detained for four days, but a court released them on bail on July 18.

Randa's brother has told south Hebron prosecutor Mohammad Gaboon that on his release he returned home and beat Randa on her face and chest. "She lost her conscious and I left the room at that time," he said.

On July 21, Randa's father took her body to a clinic, where a doctor issued a death certificate.

Suspicions were raised by the family's failure to give Randa a proper funeral, said Atta Jawabra, who works at the family protection unit of Hebron police.

"As a result, we immediately informed Hebron police chief Ramadan Awad, about this matter as it might be a murder," he told Ma'an.

Police exhumed Randa's body on July 23 and a pathologist found seven fractures in her ribs.

Police detained the doctor that had issued Randa's death certificate, and after many hours of questioning the doctor said he issued the certificate without examining the body because Randa's father told him she suffered from epilepsy, the prosecutor in the case said.

Several months before her death, Randa had sought police protection from her father and her brother, said Farid al-Atrash, the regional director of the Independent Commission for Human Rights told Ma'an.

In January, she filed complaints with the family protection unit and at police stations in al-Samu, where she lived, and Yatta, a nearby town. Police made her father sign a "pledge" to stop beating her.

The beatings continued and Randa approached the Independent Commission of Human Rights on Feb. 4.

"We called the family protection department to find her a safe house, but family protection said that her father and brother promised to find her a job," al-Atrash said.

Randa was living with her family after her husband threw her out, Hiyan Qaqour, a lawyer for the Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling told Ma'an.

Aged 28, Randa was forced to marry a 78-year-old man from Beersheba, in Israel, her mother told Ma'an.

They were married for six years and he regularly beat her, the lawyer said. Randa complained to Israeli police, who arrested him. On her husband's release, he sent her back to her family in as-Samu in the southern West Bank, Qaqour added.

The Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling provided Randa legal support to divorce her husband, but the process was complicated by Randa's family's refusal to stand as witnesses in the case.

After four months, her brother finally agreed to stand in court and she was able to get a divorce, the lawyer said.

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