A man has been accused of killing his daughter because her boyfriend was Muslim.
Henriette Karra, a 17-year-old Arab-Israeli, was found dead on June 13 in her parents’ kitchen in Ramle, Israel, with stab wounds to the neck, reports the New York Post.
Her father Sami Karra, 58, who has a criminal record that includes drug dealing, was charged with murder on July 16 for the death of his daughter.
His lawyers have denied the allegations. “It’s no secret that the family had a bad relationship, so to speak, between the deceased and her family in light of the criticism her family had of her behavior,” attorneys Shukri Abu Tabik and Giora Zilberstein told Ynet. “This did not lead to murder and could not lead to murder."
Henriette's Christian parents had made it clear that they considered her having a Muslim boyfriend a disgrace to the family, reports the Washington Post. On the day she was killed, she told a relative that she planned to convert to Islam for her boyfriend, who was in prison at the time.
According to a police report filed by Henriette, her parents beat and threatened her in an attempt to break up the relationship, notes the Post, citing Haaretz.
Authorities say she spent the final two weeks of her life hiding from her family.
Her death last month spurred protests from community leaders and lawmakers who claimed that not enough was done to protect her.
“The school knew about the problem, the neighbors knew about the problem,” Samah Salaime, founding director of Arab Women in the Center, said in an interview with the Washington Post. “The painful thing is she complained. She was in the police station a week before she died.”
Aida Tuma-Sliman, a member of Israel's Knesset, alleged that there was an "epidemic" of women being killed with impunity. In Henriette's neighborhood alone, she explained, 15 women were killed during a one-year period, but only three men were charged.
Because the murders in such cases are usually perpetrated by family members, they have been compared to the honor killings prevalent in some Muslim countries. When interviewed by police, Henriette's mother said that her husband felt humiliated by his daughter’s relationship, and considered it an affront to the "family’s honor."
However, Salaime argued against the honor killing explanation, pointing out that the majority of the murders occur in Ramle and Lod, where poverty, drugs and illegal weapon use are widespread.