Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

November 9, 2012

Child rapes, killings terrify parents in Iraq


Basra police chief Maj. Gen. Faisal al-Ibadi and the head of the security committee in nearby Zubair, Mahdi Rikan, provided detailed accounts of the two cases to The Associated Press.

Banin was kidnapped Aug. 16 in Zubair, a rundown town just outside the city of Basra. Her family, from the nearby province of Dhi Qar, had come to town to visit relatives.

Police later found her body in a derelict area with her hands and legs bound. She was raped multiple times, and her head was smashed by what was believed to be a large brick, according to authorities.

An off-duty soldier assigned to a nearby army base, Akram al-Mayahi, was arrested in connection with the Banin's murder. He was found guilty on Oct. 22 and sentenced to death for abusing and killing the girl, said judge Jassim al-Moussawi, the spokesman for the Basra Federal Appeals Court.

Banin's family wants al-Mayahi to be executed publically at the scene of the crime as a deterrent, al-Ibadi said. The sentence has yet to be carried out.

The other young girl, Abeer, also came from Dhi Qar province, a relatively poor part of Iraq that many residents travel from in search of work, often for weeks at a time. She was abducted Oct. 11 while her family attended a wedding not far from the scene of Banin's murder.

Her body was found 12 hours later in an empty lot, bearing similar signs of trauma to the previous victim, though Abeer was also strangled with a shoelace, officials said.

Authorities later determined that the suspected kidnapper phoned nine friends and invited them to take part in the rape. So far, eight people have been arrested and have confessed. The case has yet to go to trial because the investigation is still under way. Authorities believe the soldier convicted in Banin's killing is not connected to Abeer's murder.

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