Rape, Murder Of Woman In Algeria Sparks Outrage

 

An Algerian activist holds a placard reading in French “we dream of a country where women who talk about rape are heard more than men who talk about veil” during a rally in the capital Algiers on October 8, 2020 to denounce the brutal murder of a 19-year-old woman and those of the 38 other women killed this year. –  (Photo by RYAD KRAMDI / AFP)

 

The rape and murder in Algeria of a 19-year-old woman sparked cries for action on gender-based violence in the North African country and calls to bring back capital punishment.

The body of the young woman, identified as Chaima, was found in early October at a deserted petrol station in Thenia, 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of the capital Algiers.

She had been beaten, raped and burned alive, according to local media.

The suspect, who has reportedly confessed, is being charged with “rape and voluntary homicide with premeditation and ambush, using torture”.

Chaima’s mother said the man was an acquaintance of the family, against whom the young woman had previously pressed rape charges in 2016.

The killing set off a wave of outrage on social media in Algeria, where internet users condemned the “heinous” crime and demanded justice, with many calling for the death penalty, under moratorium in the country since 1993.

A message shared widely online reads: “I am Chaima, I was raped in 2016 and I had the courage to press charges in a conservative society. I am still Chaima, it is 2020 and I have again been raped by the same rapist, who stabbed and burned me. #IAmChaima.”

– Death penalty –

In a video that circulated on social networks and was picked up by local TV stations, Chaima’s mother directly addressed Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and demanded the execution of the perpetrator.

Many Algerians also took to social media in support of reinstating the death penalty.

“Execution should be applied to the killer, to be an example for all those who think of doing the same thing,” one Twitter user wrote.

Another said: “We must open the debate on the death penalty, the monster who killed her has no place in society or in prison.”

But others in the country rejected execution as the best way to deter femicide, the gender-related killing of women and girls.

Femicides Algeria, a group that tracks such homicides, said: “It is not through the death penalty that we will give her (Chaima) justice, it is rather the law that must be changed and applied.”

The activists have counted 38 femicides in Algeria so far this year.

They recorded 60 in 2019, noting on their website that with so many cases going unreported or unconfirmed, the actual number “is much higher”.

– ‘Break the silence’ –

Hassina Oussedik, director for human rights group Amnesty International in Algeria, told AFP that “the death penalty is not a deterrent”.

“It is discriminatory and does not protect the most vulnerable.”

She added it was necessary to “change mentalities and the judicial system for the psychological and legal care of victims, launch national awareness campaigns, open shelters and train the various institutions”.

The Free and Independent Women’s Collective of Bejaia, a city on Algeria’s northeast coast, said Chaima’s killing “adds to the long list of femicides, which continues to grow in the face of complicit silence, the justification of violence and the absence of real measures”.

To “break the silence”, the collective called for a protest on Thursday in Bejaia.

The calls for action and solidarity have spread across the country.

The Algerian Women for Change Toward Equality group also organised a rally on Thursday, in Algiers, to “denounce the heinous crimes” that led to Chaima’s death and those of the 38 women killed this year.

-AFP

Federal Authorities To Take Over Indian Gang-Rape Investigation

File photo of the Indian flag

 

India’s federal investigators will take over the probe into the alleged gang-rape and murder of a low-caste teenaged woman that has sparked nationwide outrage and days of protests.

The 19-year-old woman from the marginalised Dalit community was attacked in mid-September in northern Uttar Pradesh state and died on Tuesday, in the latest case highlighting India’s epidemic of sexual violence.

Five senior police officers have already been suspended over the investigation amid criticism of law enforcement’s actions — including the cremation of the woman’s body in the middle of the night against the wishes of her family.

The chief minister of the state — India’s most populous with 200 million people — announced the decision to transfer the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation late Saturday.

“We are committed to giving the strictest punishment to the people responsible for this incident,” Yogi Adityanath, who is from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), wrote on Twitter.

The police have arrested four high-caste men on the charges of gang-rape and murder.

Local authorities barricaded the village after the cremation to block opposition politicians and media from meeting the victim’s family.

The decision was reversed Saturday after widespread criticism.

The involvement of leaders of the opposition Congress party, Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi, in several demonstrations, has sparked accusations from the BJP that they were politicising the issue.

The young woman’s death comes months after four men were hanged for 2012 gang-rape and murder of a student on a bus in New Delhi, in a case that shook the nation.

An average of nearly 90 rapes were reported in India every day last year, according to data by the National Crime Records Bureau, but large numbers are thought to go unreported.

India’s 200 million low-caste Dalits have long faced discrimination, and campaigners say attacks have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

AFP

Army Court Martial Sentences Soldier To Five Years In Prison

 

A Nigerian army corporal has been sentenced to five years in prison by a military court martial, after he was found guilty of defiling a 13-year-old girl in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.

Besides the five-year sentence, the court martial on Wednesday, also dismissed the corporal after the trial which lasted for over two years.

The 7-division General Court Martial of Operation Lafiya Dole had charged him for assault and defilement of the girl who had newly returned to her hometown after years of displacement in Maiduguri.

The prosecution had described in graphic details how Corporal Yakubu waylaid and raped the minor, abandoned her in an uncompleted building after beating her to unconsciousness.

The survivor who later gained consciousness staggered out and was sighted by a passerby who helped her home. Yakubu, on the other hand, had already fled the crime scene.

Military authorities commenced investigation when the assault was reported, leading to the identification of the suspect who had a ready-made alibi claiming that he had traveled out of Bama town on the “31st of June.”

The President of the Court martial, Brigadier-General Arikpo Ekubi, said the arraigned soldier in an attempt at defense, sought to back his claim that he was in Maiduguri at the time material to the case.

“A unit armourer from 202 tank battalion who kept a book to record passes tendered the book as exhibit “D” but it ended up strengthening the case of prosecution that the accused person traveled the very day of the incident as stated by the investigating police officer,” he explained.

According to him, “it is noteworthy that the accused person did not specifically deny assaulting the victim as he tried in respect of count one, he only relied on his failed alibi without debunking the glaring issue of assaulting the victim.”

The President of the court martial, Brigadier-General Arikpo Ekubi, while handing down the judgement described the actions of the corporal as barbaric and capable of dragging the name of the Nigerian Army in the mud.

“This court hereby sentence you as follows: Count 1: Five years imprisonment. Count 2: Dismissal from service. These sentences are, however, subject to confirmation by the prescribed authority as provided by sections 151 SS 1d and 157 ss 1b of the Armed forces Act,” Ekubi declared.

The dismissed soldier broke down in tears as he was escorted out of the courtroom.

Two Pastors Arrested Over Rape Of Corps Member In Rivers

Police patrol

 

Two pastors have been arrested in Rivers State for allegedly raping a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Channels Television learned the 27-year-old corps member is having her primary assignment at the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.

The suspects – Austin Emmanuel and Peter Davies – are currently being detained at the State Criminal and Investigation and Intelligence Department in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

Before the duo committed the act, the Plateau State-victim was said to be a virgin.

Narrating her ordeal, the corps member disclosed that Austin had invited her to come to his house on August 29 which coincided with his birthday, adding that the pastor was later joined by Davies.

According to the victim, there was no reason to be suspicious since she has been worshipping in his church for over five months.

Speaking further, the NYSC member said the last thing she could remember on that fateful day was that the suspects robbed her a certain oil while praying for her and she slept off.

The victim said as soon as she woke up the next day, she noticed bruises on the surface and inside her private part, adding that she felt serious pains within the region.

She further revealed the duo asked her to sow her mobile phone as a seed before they started conducting deliverance on her.

Also, the medical report sighted by Channels Television indicated that the hymen had been torn, with bruises in the labia minora of the pubic region.

Meanwhile, the father of the victim who is a Police officer and her mother is insisting that justice must be served to prevent the further assault of female corps members.

Similarly, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Rivers State branch has waded into the matter and has insisted that justice should prevail.

El-Rufai Signs Law To Castrate Rapists In Kaduna

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai (File Photo)

 

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has signed into law the amended penal code 2020 which prescribes surgical castration for a rapist upon conviction.

The development was disclosed in a statement on Wednesday by the governor’s spokesman, Muyiwa Adekeye, after the amended law was passed by the Kaduna State House of Assembly last week.

The state House of Assembly noted that “with the new law, anyone convicted of rape will have his organ surgically removed so that even upon completion of his jail term, he will not be able to commit the crime again.

It added that “in addition to the castration of the convicted rapist, the new law recommends 21 years imprisonment for the rape of an adult and life imprisonment for the rape of a minor.”

While signing the law, governor El-Rufai noted that in addition, such convicts will be listed in the sex offenders register to be published by the Attorney-General of the state.

He stated that these drastic penalties are required to help further protect children from such serious crimes.

See details of the amended Penal Code below.

The Kaduna State Penal Code (amendment) law 2020 amends the penal code law (no.5) of Kaduna State, 2017 by substituting section 258 as follows:

1. Whoever commits rape of a child below the age of fourteen (14) years shall on conviction, be punished with surgical castration and death.

2. Whoever has sexual intercourse with a male child below the age of fourteen years shall be punished with surgical castration and death.

3. Where a female adult is convicted for the offence of rape of a child, the court shall punish the accused with bilateral salpingectomy and death.

4. Where the victim is above fourteen years, the court shall on conviction sentence the accused with a punishment of surgical castration and life imprisonment.

5. Where the convict is a child, the court shall order as appropriate under the children and young person law cap 26 laws of Kaduna State 1991.

6. Where the victim is a child, the court shall in addition to the conviction, order that the convict be listed in the sex offenders register to be published by the Attorney General.

7. Where the court is trying the offence of rape involving a child below the age of fourteen years, corroboration of a medical report shall be necessary.

Liberia Declares Rape A National Emergency

(FILES) This file photo taken on September 25, 2017 shows former football player and candidate in Liberia’s presidential elections, George Weah posing during a photo session in Paris.
Weah was sworn in as Liberia’s new president on January 22, 2018, in the country’s first transition between democratically-elected leaders since 1944. / AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET

 

Liberian President George Weah has declared rape a national emergency and has ordered new measures to tackle the problem after a recent spike of cases in the poor West African state.

The moves comes after thousands of Liberians protested rising incidents of rape in the capital Monrovia last month, in a bid to draw attention to the country’s alarming rate of sexual assault.

Late on Friday, Weah said he would install a special prosecutor for rape in Liberia, as well as set up a national sex offender registry, a statement from his office said.

The government will also establish a so-called “national security task force” on sexual- and gender-based violence.

The high rates of rape in impoverished Liberia, forced to contend both with war and the Ebola virus in recent years, has been a longstanding concern.

A UN report in 2016 recorded 803 rape cases the previous year in the country of 4.5 million, and found that only two percent of sexual violence cases led to a conviction, for example.

It was the resulting sense of impunity and the legacy of the 14-year civil war between 1989 and 2003, when rape was commonplace, that had created the current problem, it said.

Incidents of rape appear to have risen sharply this year, however.

Margaret Taylor, the director of Liberia’s Women Empowerment Network, told AFP last month that her NGO had recorded 600 cases of rape between June and August, for example.

That was up from between 80 and a hundred cases in May, she said.

Weah’s announcement of a national rape emergency follows a conference in the capital Monrovia on tackling sexual violence on Wednesday.

Addressing the meeting, the footballer-turned-president said Liberia was “witnessing what is actually an epidemic of rape within the pandemic, affecting mostly children and young girls across the country.”

Weah’s office said in the statement on Friday that further anti-rape measures will be announced.

 

AFP

Kaduna Assembly Approves Castration As Punishment For Rapists

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: A photo taken on December 2, 2019, shows women campaigning against rape during a protest.

 

The Kaduna State House of Assembly on Friday approved castration as punishment for anybody convicted for rape in the state.

This follows the amendment of the State Penal Code (No.5), law of 2017 which stipulates stiffer penalties for rapists in the state as part of the effort to protect women and children against any form of gender violence.

“Anyone convicted of rape will have his organ surgically removed so that even upon completion of his jail term, will not be able to commit the crime again,” the spokesman of the House, Musa Ahmed told Channels Television.

READ ALSO: Card Readers Destroyed As Fire Guts Ondo INEC Head Office

Ahmed said in addition to the castration of the convicted rapist, the new law entails 21 years imprisonment for the rape of an adult and life imprisonment for the rape of a minor.

During a public hearing on the Bill seeking the amendment of the penal code last month, the wife of the Kaduna state Governor, Ummi El-Rufai proposed either castration or death sentence for rapists, even as she described such act as a gross violation of the rights of women and children.

While she expressed concern that an average of five rape cases especially minors are recorded in Kaduna State on daily basis, the governor’s wife noted that only severe penalties for rapists in the state penal code will serve as a deterrent to others.

Lots Of Sexual Assault Victims Destroy Evidence Unknowingly – Police PRO

A file photo of Mr Frank Mba.

 

The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, has advised victims of rape to preserve the original scene of crime.

Speaking during the UN Spotlight Initiative Town Hall on Violence Against Women, Mba said the move is necessary to enable investigators effectively and successfully prosecute cases of rape and other forms of violence in the country.

“In every case of rape, there are fundamentally two scenes of crime – the body of the woman that has been raped as well as the physical location where this assault took place.

“These two scenes of crime must be preserved. Once we fail in preserving them, we run into fundamental problems with the investigations,” he said.

“It is also important that you maintain the physical scene of crime. Do not tamper with anything, do not try to make the bed, don’t dispose the condom if the person used condom while sexually assaulting you.

“If you suspect you were drugged or your drink was laced with any substance, please do not dispose the remnant of the drink whether it is yogurt, Ribena, coke or wine.

“Leave those things for us. When we come, we know how to pick them up no matter how disorganised the room is,” he said.

READ ALSO: President Buhari Calls For End To Violence Against Women, Children

Meanwhile, Minister for Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, has called for an end to the rising cases of rape and other forms of violence against women and girls in the country.

While condemning the act, she declared that further violent cases were unacceptable.

She, therefore, encouraged victims to speak out in order to end the scourge of violence against the female folks.

According to the Minister, perpetrators of violence against women should be named and shamed to serve as a deterrent to others.

President Buhari Calls For End To Violence Against Women, Children

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has once again called for an end to violence against women and children in the country and around the world.

In solidarity with Nigerian women and children, President Buhari said the country has made a lot of progress in the fight against gender-based violence.

“I stand in solidarity with all the women and children in Nigeria and around the world and say no to violence against women and children,” he said in a message during the UN Spotlight Initiative Town Hall on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria.

“A lot of good progress has been made in the past few months. We have established an inter-ministerial management committee on the eradication of gender-based violence in the country.

“Many states in the country have passed laws promoting access to justice for women and children and services are being improved to support survivors of violence.

READ ALSO: How I Was Raped For Years By My Step-Father – Survivor

While commending the Ministry of Women Affairs, and the Ministry of Justice, lawmakers, Nigerian governors, and the Police Force for their “plans to ensure the creation of a national action plan to combat violence against women and girls,” he admitted that violence against children and women has consequences.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

 

“Gender violence has consequences, not only for the victims and their families but on the community and the country at large,” he said.

“Preventing violence against women can save lives and prevent human suffering.”

According to Buhari, men also have a role to play in building a safer society for women and children and should recognize the role of women in the development of the economy and the country.

“A lot still needs to be done and I call on all our men and boys to help us in achieving our goal of creating a society that is free from domestic violence, rape and all other forms of violence against women and children,” Buhari added.

Lack Of Support For Victims Of Sexual Abuse Empowers Perpetrators – Advocate

 

 

Juliet Olumuyiwa-Rufai believes the lack of support for victims of sexual abuse emboldens perpetrators. 

She likened a situation where community members beg victims on behalf of sexual offenders to “telling them [perpetrators] to do more.

READ ALSO: For Every Case Of Gender-Based Violence, 10 Are Not Reported – Women Affairs Minister

“By the time we do not give support to survivors of sexual abuse, we are doing a lot of harm; we are empowering the perpetrators; telling the perpetrators to go ahead and go more,” Juliet who is the Centre Manager, Mirable/Partnership for Justice, said on Tuesday during the UN Spotlight Initiative Town Hall on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria.

“And Nobody knows whose turn it is going to be next. And we are making the survivors be so down, so withdrawn.”

 

juliet-olumiyiwa-rufai
Juliet Olumuyiwa-Rufai speaking during the programme.

 

While narrating her experience managing cases of sexual abuse, she said many victims of abuse are told to leave the matter for God, telling them [victims] that “judgement belongs to God.”

“It is made worse when they do not receive support from the society; when people turn to favour the perpetrators instead of the survivors,” she explained.

“So, you get to see community members coming to beg survivors to drop the case, not to pursue justice; going to beg on behalf of the perpetrators, trying to tell survivors that ‘Well, you can’t fight for God. Judgement belongs to God. You are too hard; can’t you forget about it?’.”

She reiterated that sexual abuse leaves victims with a lot of trauma with many of them going into depression and even taking their own lives.

“It [effects of sexual violence] cannot just go away,” Juliet added.

‘Widespread, Persistent Violations’

The Spotlight Initiative is a new, global, multi-year initiative from the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN).

The Initiative aim is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG).

According to the United Nations, “violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today.”

The Spotlight Initiative aims to bring focused attention to this issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

An initial investment in the order of EUR 500 million has been made, with the EU as the main contributor.

 

How I Was Raped For Years By My Step-Father – Survivor

 

A rape survivor in Nigeria on Tuesday shared a shocking tale of how she was raped for years by a man she thought was her father.

Fatima Ada Isiaku was first sexually abused at the age of five. Her stepfather started off her nightmare by using his fingers on her.

“At the age of seven, the abuse became worse. I was a sex slave for complete seven years under my mother’s nose without her knowing that I was being abused,” she said during the UN Spotlight Initiative Town Hall on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria.

Her attempts to get help failed as her mother, the person she went to would not believe her.

She endured the abuse and worse for years more, all the while believing her rapist to be her father.

“So, I thought he was my dad; I never knew he was not my dad. It was at the age of 14 that my mum found out (and) she revealed to me that he was not my dad,” she said.

Finding out

After years of trying to convince her mother to believe her, it took another humiliation before the truth came out. Her mother subjected her to a crude virginity test.

After returning home, to the military barracks where they lived at the time, she found herself received coldly by her mom.

“When I came back from school, my younger ones greeted her, I  greeted her; she responded to them but she did not respond to me. She said to me, ‘You stand in the corner’ and she told my younger ones to go inside and not come out. She told me to stand aside.

“So, she poured the water into me and the water went in. She then shouted, ‘So, you are not a virgin?’ 

At that time, at the age of 14, Fatima had not received any sex education and had no clue what the word ‘virgin’ meant.

“I said, ‘so, who is a virgin?’ and she said, ‘a man has been going through you’. And I told her it was my father,” she shared during the show.

It had taken Fatima so long to get her mother to hear and believe her because, according to her, her stepfather did not only make her a sex slave, he successfully ran a campaign to discredit her and turn her mom against her.

An EU, UN Initiative

The Spotlight Initiative is a new, global, multi-year initiative from the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN).

The Initiative aim is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG).

According to the United Nations, “violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today.”

The Spotlight Initiative aims to bring focused attention to this issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

An initial investment in the order of EUR 500 million has been made, with the EU as the main contributor.

Labour Unions, Women Protest Against Rape In Oyo

 

Labour unions and Non-Governmental Organisations in Oyo State have taken to the streets to protest against rape and other forms of gender violence in the state.

The women wing of the labour unions and a group of students from the University of Ibadan asked both the state government and residents to take bolder steps to curb the menace.

They were seen carrying placards with various inscriptions like “Women are not sex toys,” “No to rape is a collective responsibility,” “rape is a lifetime injury” among several others.

Speaking to Channels Television on Friday, the protesters explained that efforts were ongoing to lobby states and the National Assembly to ensure a quick review and passage of Anti-Rape and Domestic Violence laws in the country.

READ ALSO: Benue Lawmaker Remanded In Prison Over Criminal Conspiracy, Kidnapping

Addressing the protesters, the Chief of Staff to Governor Seyi Makinde, Bisi Ilaka said the state government will do all within its power to secure the lives of residents in the state.

Oyo State recently recorded cases of violent attacks on residents of Akinyele Local Government Area where at least six women were raped and murdered.

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