The Dishonorable Death of Doa

Marchers protest the stoning death of 17-year-old Iraqi girl named Doa.

ByABC News
May 4, 2007, 7:51 PM

May 6, 2007 — -- Video clips of the killing posted on the Internet are shaky, grainy and sickeningly barbaric. Shot by cell phone, the camera weaves in and out through a throng of angry, screaming men, bringing the viewer right up close to a brutal and ancient form of retribution: death by stoning.

On the ground, in the center of the crowd, lies a lone young woman. Covered in dirt and bleeding heavily from cuts to her face and head, she writhes in pain. Men break free from the mob and rush forward to throw stones or strike out with their feet, kicking savagely. Above the din of roaring voices, are men laughing in the background. The woman's pitiful groans of agony can be clearly heard as she awaits her death.

Her name was Doa and she was only 17 years old. She grew up in northern Iraq near Mosul, in the village of Bahzani, and was a member of a religious minority called the Yazidi. Friends say the only thing she did to invite such an outpouring of anger was run off to marry a young Sunni man she had fallen in love with, and convert to Islam.

It was this conversion to Islam that sealed Doa's death warrant. Her relatives were so filled with rage they kidnapped her, dragged her back to the village and had her stoned to death to pay for what they viewed as crimes against their religion.

Scores of men from Doa's own family and neighborhood gathered in the village square to carry out the honor killing in the full light of day. Hundreds more stood at the back and watched with curiosity.

Villagers have justified the killing as little more than an internal matter.

"This was simply a tribal and moral incident," Neef Shangari, a village lawyer, told ABC News. "It has nothing to do with religion."

The Internet clips were posted by a Kurdish group called the International Campaign Against Killings and Stoning of Women, which is striving to bring attention to revenge attacks like this.

"Women in Kurdistan and Iraq are oppressed. The few rights they do have are very limited and in most cases they are treated as subhuman," read a statement accompanying the video. "Killings, suicide, and violence against women are an everyday occurrence in this region."