State prosecutors in Be’er Sheva were set to indict three Bedouin men on Sunday – two uncles and a cousin – of 19-year-old Hanan al-Bahiri, a young Bedouin woman abducted last month from her hometown of Lakiya, and then murdered.
Her remains were discovered in a deep-dug grave near one of the family homes.
The three men deny the allegations.
The young woman disappeared on the night of May 3, shortly after phoning to tell her mother she was on her way home from a local building. When she didn’t arrive, her mother called police, prompting an investigation that led to the arrest of six family members.
The story is heartbreaking. Al-Bahiri had been married off to a disabled man, and then subsequently divorced. Although the traditional monetary bride price paid at the wedding ceremony is intended to provide for the future in the event of any subsequent difficulty – including a divorce – it often doesn’t turn out that way, as disillusioned divorcing Jewish brides often find to their sorrow as well.
So it was for the young teenager, whose father had died and could not protect or provide for her. She was forced to return the entire bride price paid by the groom’s family, and instead left destitute.
With no other options, Hanan al-Bahiri decided to take a job and earn a living.
That decision cost her her life.
According to Israel Police, her two uncles, Sager and Younes al-Bahiri, along with Younes’ son Mahmad, snatched her as she walked home on May 3 and questioned her about her life since getting her divorce.
One of the six suspects arrested by police confessed under questioning and revealed the whole sorry tale. The young woman’s uncles and cousin were concerned that in her newly-single state, and working outside the home, she would meet and then date men; and ultimately dishonor the family.
To prevent that eventuality, the men broke her neck, burned her body and burned the remains about ten feet underground near one of the family homes.