This past year, Basra, one of Iraq’s largest cities, has seen the number of women murdered in honor killings nearly double. So far, 81 women have been murdered in so-called honor killings this year, compared to the 47 women who were killed in 2007, according to Reuters.
An anonymous Basra lawyer told the Observer that “the life of these women isn’t higher than $100. You can find a killer standing in any coffee shop of Basra discussing prices of life as if he was buying a piece of meat.” Honor killings are generally overlooked by authorities. Of those murdered this year, there have been only five convictions despite strong evidence in many cases.
The murder of Rand Abdel-Qader has been one of the most highly publicized honor killings in the region. Abdel Qader was killed because she had been seen speaking with a British soldier whom she had romantic feelings for, according to The Herald Sun. Women who are seen speaking to men who are not relatives in Iraq are considered to be impure. Since Abdel Qader’s murder, nine of the twelve Basra-based women’s rights organizations have been forced to close.