A Yemeni woman has been sentenced to death for having opened fire and killed a male relative who climbed up the wall of her house in an attempt to rape her.
Raja Hakimi was initially sentenced to two years in prison by a district court in the southern province of Ibb. The sentence was raised to death by the court of appeals, prompting the condemnation of women and human rights groups.
Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC), an organization co-founded in 2005 by Tawakkol Karman, a recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, condemned the death sentence against Rajaa as an “unjust ruling, which violates all legislation and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
WJWC said in a statement that the woman, Hakimi, was “only defending herself” against an armed man who tried to exploit the absence of the woman’s husband and attack her with the intention to rape her.
The man reportedly carried a gun and climbed up the wall of Hakimi’s house in the middle of the night trying to enter the house from the window, Adenalghad.net and voice-yemen.com websites reported.
When she saw him, the frightened Hakimi pulled up the gun of her husband and opened fire on the assailant. He fell down to the ground and died. In the morning, neighbors saw the body of the man and informed the police, who then arrested Hakimi.
Hakimi pleaded guilty to murder but insisted that that she killed him in self-defense. However, her words were not taken into consideration by the appeals court, which ordered sending her to the gallows.
But deputy general director of legal affairs in the province of Ibb, Abdulrakeb Alhimyari, told Al Arabiya English that the act of killing was “possibly planned beforehand.”
He quoted Abdul Alim al-Hakami, a relative of both the woman and the murdered assailant, as saying that “justice was finally held.”
Abdul Alim was a previous government official in the province of Ibb, according to Alhimyari.
Alhimyari said Abdul Alim told him that the assailant was “dragged into the house” in order to be killed. But Alhimyari insisted that this story could not be verified as true.
Some local media had claimed that relatives close to family of murdered assailant have influence on local authorities in the province of Ibb, which could explain why the ruling was in their favor.