Israa Ghrayeb: Three arrested in relation to suspected 'honour killing'

Israa Ghrayeb: Three arrested in relation to suspected 'honour killing'
Three people have been arrested in connection with the suspected 'honour killing' of 21-year-old Israa Ghrayeb.
3 min read
05 September, 2019
Israa Ghrayeb was an aspiring makeup artist [Twitter]
Three people have been arrested in connection with the alleged murder of a Palestinian woman last week, described as an "honour killing", the Palestinian Attorney General's Office announced Thursday.

Israa Ghrayeb, 21, died last week after being hospitalised in Bethlehem with severe injuries after being allegedly beaten by her male relatives for posting a video on social media with her soon-to-be fiancé.

The Attorney General's Office also said that while investigations into the young woman's death are still ongoing, significant progress has been made in the case.

Dozens of witnesses have been interviewed in connection with the case.

Sources told The New Arab that unknown tissue samples have been sent to Jordan for testing. The final forensic report is yet to be released.

Meanwhile, the Fatah political party said Thursday it was recommending a freeze on the membership of Mohammed Safi, Ghayeb's brother-in-law.

Amid the widespread attention on Israa's tragic death, her family took to social media to deny any role in her killing, even claiming she was possessed by a jinn - a malicious supernatural spirit in Islamic belief.

The family published a statement claiming that Israa suffered from psychological disorders and threw herself from the second floor, which led to her hospitalisation and death.

But a spokesman from the Palestinian ministry of health, Osama Al-Najjar, rejected the family's account in an interview with Palestinian state television on Wednesday.

According to Najjar, Ghrayeb's body had "clear signs of abuse".

Her family has presented conflicting accounts of the cause of death, with her brother-in-law Safi saying she died of a heart attack.

Ghrayeb's death shocked Palestinians, with people protesting in solidarity and calling on the PA to change legislation around so-called honour killings and femicide.

'Will to live'

Her brother Ihab, a Canadian resident, was reportedly angered by Ghrayeb's Instagram video, claiming it dishonoured the family by showing her together with her fiancé before the official wedding ceremony.

He was reportedly called on by their father to beat Israa after cousins of the family saw the footage online, according to social media reports.

Whilst attempting to escape her family's violence, she fell from the second floor of their house, causing serious spinal injuries, according to media reports.

An aspiring makeup artist, she announced on her Instagram story that she had to cancel all appointments for August and September because her health wouldn't allow her to work while she was awaiting a spinal cord operation.

"I'm strong and I have the will to live - if I didn't have this willpower, I would have died yesterday," she wrote. 

"Don't send me messages telling me to be strong, I am strong. May God be the judge of those who oppressed me and hurt me," she added.

She was then reportedly assaulted a second time whilst in hospital, with video footage emerging online of her screaming during the alleged attack.

The circumstances surrounding her death are unclear, with social media reports claiming she died at home days after being assaulted in hospital.

In-depth: 'No honour in murder': Honour killings are a problem and we know it

Adalah Justice Project, a Palestinian human rights organisation, said they were "outraged and saddened" by Israa's "heinous killing", and called for an investigation into her alleged murder.

"Israa was murdered by members of her family after she posted a selfie video of an outing with her fiancé. The crime is being called an 'honor' killing, but this is misleading and false. There is no honour in murder," the group said in a statement.

Hundreds of Palestinian women took to the streets Monday to protest in front of the prime minister's office in Ramallah to demand an investigation into the Ghrayeb's death.

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