Daily Israel Report

Israeli Arab Indicted for Imprisoning Daughter

An Israeli Arab man who had kept his 20-year-old daughter locked in a bathroom for 9 years faces criminal charges.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 1/31/2012, 7:11 PM

Qalqilya.
Qalqilya.
Flash 90

The Tel Aviv District Attorney's office filed charges on Tuesday filed charges against an Israeli Arab man and his  wife for keeping his daughter  by a previous marriage locked in a bathroom for nine years.

Details of the indictment indicated the father and stepmother of the 20-year-old Baraa Melhem kept her locked in a bathroom or other small rooms in three different houses in Palestinian Authority-administered enclaves in Judea and Samaria.

The indictment charges the woman was first locked away at age 11, and was allowed out only at night to clean the house, do laundry and cook.

The father is also accused of beating her, sometimes at his wife's prodding, and the pair are said to have encouraged her to kill herself, even implying she should use the husband's shaving razors.

Both are being charged with abusing a minor, unwarranted imprisonment and attempting to pressure a person to commit suicide.

The case was unconvered after the girl's paternal aunt brought the matter to the attention of a PA social worker. The worker contacted PA security forces in the Samaria town of Qalqilya earlier this month.

The man, who holds Israeli citizenship, was handed over to Israeli authorities for interrogation and prosecution. The young woman's stepmother was subsequently arrested in Israel.

Baraa was subsequently taken in by her mother, who is remarried and living in another PA enclave in Judea and Samaria, after social workers determined the situation in her mother's home was "suitable."

Her mother reportedly had tried to maintain contact with her, but was told to mind her own business by the father, who would make excuses for why the daughter could not come to the phone or meet with her.

A PA security forces spokesman said the man "had chosen to keep his own daughter in these conditions for fear of her becoming a victime of sexual assault."