A Christian resident of the central Israeli town of Ramle was charged on Sunday with killing his teenage daughter over her relationship with a young Muslim.
Sami Karra allegedly murdered his daughter, Henriette, 17, because he and his family objected to her relationship with a man who was serving time in prison, as well as her plans to convert to Islam for him.
Henriette left home two weeks before the June 13 murder after her family used violence and threats to try to end her relationship, according to the indictment. She feared for her life and hid from her family in a number of places, including at the home of her boyfriend's mother.
A week before the murder she filed a complaint with the police against her mother, saying she had attacked her.
In an effort to pressure Henriette to return home, the family threatened her boyfriend's mother, forcing the teen to find another place to hide.
A few days before the murder, her parents and two uncles came to see her at the home of a female friend with whom she was staying, in an attempt to convince her to return home. The police were called, but Henriette refused to accept help from the officer who responded on the scene. At 3 A.M. her father arrived, allegedly beating and threatening her.
On June 11, two days before her murder, the police summoned Henriette and her parents for a joint meeting with a social worker. At the meeting, her parents asked Henriette to return home, but she said no. The social services proposed she enter a woman’s shelter or another framework. She refused and asked for help from the welfare authorities in paying for an apartment.
The sides agreed at the meeting that Henriette would stay with a relative, but she returned home later that evening. The next day she attended her high school graduation party.
On June 13, the day of the murder, Henriette deposited 400 shekels ($113) in her boyfriend's prison canteen account. When she returned home she told her relative that her boyfriend was getting out of prison at the end of the week and that she intended on converting to Islam. The relative called Henriette’s father and told him of her plans. The father then decided to murder her, according to the indictment.
Henriette was found dead in the kitchen of her parent’s home with stab wounds to the neck.
In the course of the investigation, Henriette's mother told the police her husband felt humiliated by his daughter's behavior and saw it as an affront to the “family’s honor.”
In a conversation between the two parents, which was recorded by the police the night before the murder, Henriette's mother, Aliham, asked Sami Karra why he let her go to the graduation party. “Forget about her, let her go to hell," he said. It’s not worth another shekel to even chase after her, she’s garbage. We need to whip her, throw her away like a dog and see how she does She’s already gone, I’m sick of her and you.”
After his arrest, Sami Karra refused to answer any questions from the police, except in one interrogation a few days ago. He confirmed he was the man seen leaving the house in a picture from security cameras. He then picked up his brother and drove to the seaside city of Bat Yam, but refused to explain why he remained there even after he was told of his daughter’s death. Karra has a long criminal record, with his last conviction taking place in 2004 for crimes that include intimidation, property violations and drug dealing and possession.
The family is related to new Supreme Court Justice George Karra, who was sworn in last month. A family acquaintance told Haaretz that Henriette was an only daughter who lived with her mother in Ramle’s Old City and attended a Jewish school.
“Her mother worked at odd jobs and tried to give her everything and keep her away from anything negative, but her life wasn’t easy and she was apparently a victim of all this complexity. She was a happy teenager who ended her life in such a tragic way,” the woman said.
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