A 17-year-old girl from the Kurdish region of Bashika in Northern Iraq was stoned to death last month as a punishment for her relationship with a Muslim teenager. Du’a Khalil Aswad was violently attacked by men in her family and religious leaders in what has been called an “honor killing” after the teen was thought to have spent an evening with her Sunni boyfriend.
Video footage of Aswad’s murder taken on cell phones, now released and widely circulated online, shows the young woman being repeatedly struck with pieces of concrete and stone for a half an hour before her death. Amnesty International reports that the footage also shows local security personnel watching Aswad’s death, but making no effort to end the assault or apprehend her assailants.
According to the Assyrian International News Agency, up to 1,000 men participated in the stoning and murder of Aswad. According to the Daily Mail, honor killings against women and girls are not uncommon in Northern Iraq. Earlier this week, Amnesty International UK spokesperson Kate Allen stated that, “This young girl’s murder is truly abhorrent and her killers must be brought to justice. Unless the authorities respond vigorously to this and any other reports of crimes in the name of ‘honor,’ we must fear for the future of women in Iraq.”