(Illustration) Murder the 20th this year
(Illustration) Murder the 20th this yearReuters

A woman turned herself in to Palestinian Authority police on Sunday and confessed to brutally murdering her mentally-challenged daughter in an apparent "honor killing."

Gulf News reported that the woman admitted to beating her unmarried daughter, and then hanging her, after finding out that she was pregnant.

The shocking crime occurred in the Arab town of Yata, near Hevron.

Residents of Yata claimed that the 21 year-old victims father and brother had disappeared since her murder, and that PA police have already launched a manhunt to find them.

Amal Al Juabah, the general coordinator of the Women’s Centre for the Legal and Social Guidance in Hebron and member of the Palestinian Women’s General Union, condemned the murder, saying that the targeting of a disabled woman made it all the more abhorrent.

"Where is the honor in this crime?  The victim was completely insane and could not be held responsible for her body and mind."

This is the twentieth such "honor killing" so far this year in PA-controlled territory.

In so-called “honor killings,” victims – usually women – are slain following perceived sexual misconduct or immodest behavior, usually by close family members. Reasons given for honor killings in recent years have included a single woman running away with a man, a woman's refusal to marry a man chosen by relatives, and rumors of promiscuity.

A little known fact, however, is that Palestinian Authority law grants reduced sentences for murders committed in a “state of rage,” and caps sentencing for “honor” murders at six months in prison.

After a 2011 “honor” slaying caused public outrage, PA President Mahmoud Abbas changed a law giving a pardon for murder in cases where a man murdered a wife after witnessing her committing adultery. However, an Abbas aid Hassan al-Ouri, later said that the law was not used in practice.