Phoenix police arrest Iraqi woman for burning daughter

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 16, 2012 6:13 PM
Phoenix police arrest Iraqi woman for burning daughter

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Iraqi woman who police said padlocked her daughter to a bed for violating the family's traditional values has been re-arrested in Phoenix, accused of scorching the young woman with a hot spoon for refusing an arranged marriage, police said on Thursday.

Yusra Farhan, 50, was taken into custody at her Phoenix home on Wednesday over accusations she burned her 19-year-old daughter on her face and chest in November, Phoenix police spokesman James Holmes said.

The daughter, a high school student, told police that she was being punished for refusing to participate in an arranged marriage with a 38-year-old man, Holmes said. Her 18-year-old sister was also arrested, accused of holding her down.

The arrests follow a high profile Arizona murder case that saw an Iraqi immigrant, Faleh Hassan Almaleki, convicted last year of murder for running down his daughter in a Phoenix parking lot in 2009 in what was described as an "honor killing".

A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., said such cases were "isolated instances" that occur sporadically and are widely chastised by the American Muslim community.

"We condemn any false justification for domestic violence or abuse based on religious beliefs," the spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper, said.

In the more recent case in Phoenix, the father, Mohammed Altameemi, 45, was also arrested at the home in connection with an incident earlier this month in which he was accused of striking his daughter after she was seen talking to a man outside her high school, police said.

Police said the father took his daughter home where she was later assaulted by her mother. Court records showed that Farhan admitted to hitting the daughter and tying her to her bed with a rope that was secured with padlock.

Farhan told officers her daughter was being punished for "speaking to a male subject and her Iraq culture states a female is not allowed to be having contact with males because females are not allowed to have boyfriends," records show.

The daughter, who was not named by police, was released the next morning to go school and was sent to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix after talking with school officials about the incident.

Police interviewed the mother at the hospital and attempted to arrest her when a struggle ensued between officers, Farhan and several family members. She was taken into custody with the help of additional officers and hospital security.

(Editing By Tim Gaynor)