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Woman beaten to death in Gaza suffered years of abuse

May 26, 2013 4:14 P.M. (Updated: May 30, 2013 10:38 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A one-and-a-half-year old boy keeps calling for his mother, unaware that he will never she her again, and that his father's family may be responsible for her death.

Nawal Fathi Tafish Qudieh, 25, lived with her family-in-law in the town of Khuza, east of Khan Younis. On Saturday she was allegedly beaten to death by her in-laws. She was seven months pregnant at the time, and the baby also died.

Nawal's brother Ahmad says that his sister was humiliated, insulted, verbally abused and beaten by her mother-in-law and her husband's family.

Nawal's family even offered her a piece of land to build a house on and live in with her husband and family to get away from the abuse, but her husband refused to leave his family.

"Due to the problems she was exposed to, she was banned from entering the kitchen. She used to wait for her mother-in-law to leave the kitchen in order to be able to enter the kitchen," Ahmad told Ma'an.

On the day of her murder she had entered the kitchen without making sure her mother-in-law had left the area, her brother said.

"Her mother-in-law and sisters-in-law began beating her on the head, abdomen and back. They did not feel sorry for her or even for the baby she carried in her womb for the seventh month."

Her brother-in-law then began beating her with an iron pipe, with the family joining in until she lost consciousness, Ahmad said.

They dragged her body into the landing of the house and left her there until an ambulance arrived and tried to resuscitate her, but it was too late.

Both Nawal and her unborn baby died. Medics at Shifa hospital said that the cause of death was bleeding in her brain due to blunt force trauma.

Nawal's family are in a state of shock following the murder, Ahmad said, with her mother unable to speak and regularly fainting.

"They killed my sister a million times over the past three years, and today they robbed the life of my sister and killed her son," Nawal's sister said.

The extended family of Nawal's husband, the al-Najjar family, denounced the murder and have called for legal action to be taken against the murderers. The family have even hung banners in the street saying: "The al-Najjar family, in Palestine and abroad, denounces the crime against the Qudieh family."

Police in Gaza have detained Nawal's mother-in-law, sisters-in-law and brother-in-law, and her husband is said to be in a state of hysteria following the murder.
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