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Honour Killings in Palestine   (Part A)

There's growing concern among Palestinian human rights workers about the number of young women who have been murdered recently in what are known as 'honour' killings. These occur when a woman is accused of behaving improperly and bringing shame upon her family. The killing is usually carried out by her father, husband or brother.

In the West Bank and Gaza strip, there have been six cases of suspected 'honour killings' in recent months -- including three deaths in the same week. Orla Guerin has been trying to piece together some of the victims' stories.

She was last seen at half past two on a Saturday afternoon -- looking down from a window in her family's apartment. They live on a main road, in a building that houses an ice-cream shop. Outside a religious procession was making its way through the streets. Someone walking in that procession, who knew her face and her troubles, glanced up and saw her.

Less than two hours later, she was dead -- her skull crushed -- reportedly by blows from an iron bar. Her name was Faten. She was 22 years old -- a Palestinian Christian from the West bank city of Ramallah. After her lifeless body was found, her father and an aunt were taken into custody.

Faten had fallen in love with a young man called Samer, a Muslim, from Jericho. Her family disapproved of her choice. In the last desperate weeks of her life, Faten knew a death sentence was hanging over her head, and she tried hard to escape it. 

She attempted to elope, but didn't get far and was sent home, to face the wrath of her relatives. Some reports say beatings from family members resulted in a broken pelvis. Others that she sustained the injury when she jumped from a third floor window. Either way she wound up in hospital, and her case came to the attention of the Governor of Ramallah, Mustafa Issa. He put guards outside her hospital room -- to keep her safe while she recovered.