AMMAN, Jordan – A father shot dead his 17-year-old daughter, having suspected her of having sex, and surrendered to the police in the latest case of the so-called "honor killings" that have brought international opprobrium on Jordan. An autopsy found the girl to be a virgin.
Weeks earlier the girl had returned home from a family protection clinic after doctors had vouched for virginity and the father had signed a pledge not to harm her, a state forensic pathologist said Thursday.
The father shot her four times in the head on Tuesday, said the pathologist, who spoke on condition of anonymity owing to the sensitivity of the issue.
On Wednesday, an autopsy performed at the National Institute of Forensic Medicine in Amman showed "she was still a virgin," the pathologist added.
The authorities have not disclosed the names of the father or the daughter or even their town, saying only that they lived in a southern province.
The pathologist, who works at the institute, said in a phone interview that the girl had run away from home several times but he did not know the reason. She was brought to the Amman family protection clinic where her virginity was examined.
"The tests proved that she was a virgin," said the pathologist. She returned home only after her father signed a statement promising not to harm her, he added.
The crime is the first "honor killing" this year. On average about 20 women are killed by their relatives each year in Jordan where many men consider sex out of wedlock to be an almost indelible stain on a family's reputation. Women have been killed for simply dating.
Global human rights organizations have condemned such killings and appealed to King Abdullah II to put an end to them.
In response, the government has abolished a section in the penal code that allowed for "honor" killers to get sentences as lenient as six months in prison. Instead, the government has told judges to consider honor killings on a par with other homicides, which in Jordan are punishable by up to 15 years in jail.
But attempts to introduce harsher sentences have been blocked by conservative lawmakers who argue that tougher penalties would lead to promiscuity.
Queen Rania has also called for harsher punishment for such killers.