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Three relatives charged in killing of Palestinian woman

The family members of Israa Ghrayeb have been charged with her murder, but the attorney general ruled out honour killing as a motive without explaining why
Ghrayeb’s death has struck a chord in Palestinian society (MEE/Haya A.Y. Abu Shukhaidem)

Three relatives were charged on Thursday with the murder of 21-year-old Israa Ghrayeb in a suspected honour killing case which has sparked outrage among Palestinians and protests calling for laws to protect women.

Attorney General Akram al-Khatib said in a press conference that the defendants were charged with the “beating to death” of Ghrayeb, vowing to press on with the investigation, according to Palestinian state news agency Wafa.

Ghrayeb, a make-up artist from Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, was allegedly beaten repeatedly after posting footage online showing her out with her fiancée.

On Thursday, Khatib categorically ruled out honour killing as a motive, but did not provide further details “out of respect for the victim’s privacy and the integrity of the investigation”, Wafa reported.

Palestinian teen's suspected 'honour killing' provokes outrage in West Bank
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Ghrayeb’s death has struck a chord in Palestinian society and encouraged activists to call for an end to femicide and domestic violence.

Her friends and supporters say she was beaten to death by her relatives, while her family has said that she died of a heart attack.

Footage circulating online reportedly shows Ghrayeb screaming as she is being beaten by relatives in the hospital shortly before she died.

According to Wafa, the forensic report established that Ghrayeb died from “shortness of breath” that was caused by her severe injuries.

Khatib said the evidence showed that the family had fabricated a claim that Ghrayeb had fallen from a balcony in an attempt to mislead investigators and justify her fractures when she was hospitalised.

Hundreds of Palestinians last week marched in Bethlehem and across the occupied West Bank to protest violence against women and girls and demand laws to protect them.

On social media, Arab and Palestinian girls expressed fears of becoming victims like Ghrayeb as long laws fail to fully protect them or criminalise men who kill their female family members.

Palestinian public prosecution usually remains tight-lipped about criminal investigations, however, Khatib said it had become necessary to disclose the findings and allow the media to cover the case as a result of the attention it has garnered.

The hashtag #weareallIsraaGhrayeb went viral and was tweeted by tens of thousands of people from around the world.