UPDATED with photo: hat tip rut
The crime, so grotesque, is not the worst of it. After stomping to death, the father was released from custody, "'Not much can be done when we have an "honour killing" case. You are in a Muslim society and women should live under religious laws".
This is not the exception, but the rule
Her crime was to fall in love. She paid with her life The Guardian hat tip Yisrael
Investigation by Afif Sarhan in Basra, Mark Townsend and Caroline Davies
When Rand Abdel-Qader, 17, told her closest friend that she was in love from the moment she set eyes on the young British soldier working alongside her in Basra, and she dreamed of a future with him.
It was an innocent infatuation but five months after Rand, a student of English at Basra University, met Paul, a 22-year-old soldier posted to southern Iraq, she was dead. She was stamped on, suffocated and stabbed by her father. Several brutal knife wounds punctured her slender, bruised body - from her face to her feet. He had done it, he proclaimed to the neighbours who soon gathered round, to 'cleanse his honour'.
And as Rand was put into the ground, without ceremony, her uncles spat on her covered corpse because she had brought shame on the family. Her crime was the worst they could possibly imagine - she had fallen in love with a British soldier and dared to talk to him in public.
Rand was murdered last month. That the relationship was innocent was no defence. She had been seen conversing intimately with Paul. It was enough to condemn her, because he was British, a Christian, 'the invader', and the enemy. The two met while he was helping to deliver relief aid to displaced families in the city and she was working as a volunteer. They continued to meet through their relief work in the following months.
Rand last saw Paul in January, two months before her death. It was only on 16 March that her father, Abdel-Qader Ali, learned of their friendship. He was told by a friend, who worked closely with police, that Rand had been seen with Paul at one of the places they both worked as volunteers. Enraged, he headed straight home to demand an explanation from his daughter.
'When he entered the house, his eyes were bloodshot and he was trembling,' said Rand's mother, Leila Hussein, tears streaming down her face as she recalled her daughter's murder. 'I got worried and tried to speak to him but he headed straight for our daughter's room and he started to yell at her.'
'He asked if it was true that she was having an affair with a British soldier. She started to cry. She was nervous and desperate. He got hold of her hair and started thumping her again and again.
'I screamed and called out for her two brothers so they could get their father away from her. But when he told them the reason, instead of saving her they helped him end her life,' she said.
She said Ali used his feet to press down hard on his own daughter's throat until she was suffocated. Then he called for a knife and began to cut at her body. All the time he was calling out that his honour was being cleansed.
'I just couldn't stand it. I fainted.' recalled Leila. 'I woke up in a blur later with dozens of neighbours at home and the local police.'
According to Leila, her husband was initially arrested. 'But he was released two hours later because it was an "honour killing". And, unfortunately, that is something to be proud of for any Iraqi man.'
At the police station where the father was held Sergeant Ali Jabbar told The Observer last week: 'Not much can be done when we have an "honour killing" case. You are in a Muslim society and women should live under religious laws.
I thought we liberated Ira. Read it all and weep.
'But the thing she used to like talking about best was how he praised her beauty and her intelligence. She told me he called her "princess".'
Despite knowing how dangerous the consequences of her actions could be, and the punishment she faced if caught, her passion for Paul grew stronger, said Zeinab. 'She never did anything more than talk to him. She was proud to be a virgin and had a dream to give herself to the man she loved only after her marriage. But she was seen as an animal,' said Zeinab.
'What they did to her was ugly and pathetic. Rand was just a young girl with romantic dreams. She always kept her religion close to her heart. She would never even hurt a petal on a rose.'
Last year 133 women were killed in Basra - 47 of them for so-called 'honour killings', according to the Basra Security Committee. Out of those 47 cases there have been only three convictions for murder.
UPDATE KGS Over at Tundra sent this video: