Monday, November 30, 2020

Three doctors resign in protest in aftermath of Israa Ghrayeb’s murder

By Yehudit Tzfat - September 16, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [women‘s rights]

Three Palestinian doctors have resigned in protest following the murder of Israa Ghrayeb, claiming the 21-year-old’s autopsy was mishandled by authorities. 

Ghrayeb was allegedly murdered by her brothers in late August after posting a picture on social media with her soon-to-be fiance. Her death sparked outrage from women’s rights activists throughout the West Bank and calls for greater action against gender-based violence. 

Palestinian newspaper Al-Hadath reported Mohammad Abu Al-Sondos, the Undersecretary of State of the Palestine Ministry of Justice, told Attorney General Akram Al-Khatib that samples of Ghrayeb’s body were sent for examination — yet only samples of body fluids were sent. 

In response, three doctors from the Department of Forensic Medicine quit and accused Abu Al-Sondos of failing to announce autopsy results. The doctors said the violations disrupted their work and delayed carrying out the autopsy. 

Abu Al-Sondos denied the allegations and told Alhurra news channel that the doctors’ resignations were because of corruption charges against them and that they were attempting to sway public opinion in their favour. 

The Ministry of Justice issued a press release validating this notion, writing the resignations were because of “irregularities and disciplinary sanctions against some of them”.

Al-Khatib announced last week that three of Ghrayeb’s relatives were charged in “beating to death” Ghrayeb. The make-up artist from the village of Beit Sahour in the Bethlehem area died from “severe respiratory failure” due to a collapsed lung as a result of multiple injuries, according to the official medical report conducted by the Ministry of Information. 

The attorney general said the claim she fell from her balcony was “fabricated and circulated by one of [the] accusers to mislead the investigation” and justify the injuries she sustained from her beating prior to entering the hospital. 

Al-Khatib said Ghrayeb’s relatives would be charged under Article 330 of the Palestinian penal code, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. 

Al-Khatib declined to give details on the crime’s motive during the press conference, but dismissed labelling her death as an “honour killing”.

Al-Khatib described Ghrayeb as a victim of domestic abuse and torture, but her family painted a different picture to the media. In the aftermath of her death, Ghrayeb’s family said she was possessed by an evil spirit leading her to have a heart attack. Activists took note of this bizarre claim in their protests with one placard reading, "The devil is in your head and not in women's bodies”.

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