Bedouin Man Suspected of Killing His Daughter

Three other suspects arrested in death of 22-year-old Tasnim Abu Kweida.

Shirly Seidler
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Bedouin women (illustrative).
Bedouin women (illustrative).Credit: Itzik Ben-Malchi
Shirly Seidler

A man suspected of killing his daughter was remanded to custody Sunday for eight days. Police also arrested three more suspects in the case Sunday, including the victim’s husband and father-in-law.

Tasnim Abu Kweidar, a married woman of 22 with two children, was found dead about a month ago at her home in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Abu Kweidar in the Negev. An autopsy concluded that she did not die of natural causes.

Police subsequently arrested her father, Suliman Abu Kweidar, as one of the chief suspects, and say they believe Tasnim was the victim of an honor killing.

Samah Salima, head of the Arab women’s organization Naam, noted last month that village residents had reported seeing Tasnim meeting another man during the holy month of Ramadan. A few days later, she was dead.

At a hearing in the Be’er Sheva Magistrate’s Court Sunday, police said their suspicions against Suliman Abu Kweidar had strengthened after he changed his story several times under interrogation. Inter alia, he claimed he hadn’t been in the village when the murder took place. But police said his story does not match either the evidence collected at the site or the forensic evidence, both of which directly connect him to the murder.

“The real tragedy is that in the State of Israel in 2015, women are still being murdered over family honor – allegedly, of course – by the people closest to them, who are supposed to be their mainstay, but instead constitute a threat,” Judge Sara Haviv wrote in her decision approving Abu Kweidar’s remand.

The three other people arrested Sunday are suspected, in addition, of threatening and assaulting both Tasnim and her sister. After Tasnim was killed, her sister was transferred to a safe house where she is being monitored by the welfare authorities lest she be killed, too.

Tasnim’s mother, Hikma Abu Kweidar, is also a suspect in the case. She was arrested last week and remanded until Monday.

Suliman Abu Kweidar’s attorney, Sameer Abu-Abed, claimed at Sunday’s hearing that police had assaulted his client when they arrested him, and he needed medical treatment as a result. Abu-Abed, who also represents Hikma Abu Kweidar, said last week that both parents vehemently deny the allegations against them.

About a week after Tasnim’s death, before her parents were arrested, Arab women’s rights groups held a demonstration opposite the police station at the Negev’s Shoket junction to protest police inaction in cases of violence against Bedouin women in general, and this case in particular.

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