Sunday, September 17, 2006

Female Pal. Worth Half of Her Fiance's Weight in Gold

Life, love and death in Gaza (no Israelis involved).

ONE woman who will not be getting married is Yusra al- Azzam, murdered by self- appointed Hamas religious police for the crime of picnicking on the beach with a man who turned out to be her fiancé.

The 20-year-old was killed in Gaza in April last year after a car full of thugs tried to pull over her vehicle after it left the seashore, and opened fire when it refused to stop.

The killers eventually caught up with her car, beating Ms al-Azzam’s fiancĂ© and his brother. They were later arrested.

Hamas initially denied involvement, but then admitted that the gunmen were members. It quickly disavowed the killing, saying that the gunmen had acted individually.

Honour crimes are common but such random killings are rare, and the death generated much negative publicity. However, the killers were related to a powerful Gaza clan and were soon released.

With few relying on official courts, the dispute went to traditional religious arbitration and the Mufti of Gaza ordered that the al-Azzams be paid 25,000 Jordanian dinars (£19,000) in “blood money” after judging the death to have been accidental.

He applied the standard yardstick of 4.25kg (150oz) of gold for a dead man and half that for a woman.

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