Girl, 17, killed in Iraq for loving a British soldier

A 17-year-old Iraqi girl was murdered by her father in an honour killing after falling in love with a British soldier she met while working on an aid programme in Basra, it has been claimed.

Rand Abdel-Qader was stamped upon, suffocated and stabbed by her father, then given an unceremonious burial to emphasise her disgrace. Police released her father without charge two hours after his arrest.

"Not much can be done when we have an honour killing case," said Sergeant Ali Jabbar of Basra police. "You are in a Muslim society and women should live under religious laws. The father has very good contacts inside the Basra government and it wasn't hard for him to be released and what he did to be forgotten."

A total of 47 young women died in honour killings in the city last year, Basra Security Committee told an investigation into Ms Abdel-Qader's case by The Observer. This is believed to be the only case of an honour killing involving a British soldier.

The MoD had no official advice for troops on how to behave with Iraqi women. The serviceman involved would not have been told that any relationship with her could put her life at risk, the paper said.

Ms Abdel-Qader, a student of English at Basra University, had struck up a friendship with a 22-year-old British infantryman known only as Paul five months before her murder in March.

She was believed to have last seen him in January, and the pair, whose relationship was innocent, only ever met while working at the aid station. The soldier was helping deliver relief to displaced families as part of his regimental duties. Ms Abdel-Qader was a volunteer worker.

On the day her father, Abdel-Qader Ali, was told of their friendship by a friend, he accused her of having an affair with a British soldier and killed her in front of his wife, Leila Hussain, and their sons.

"I screamed and called out for her two brothers so they could get their father away from her. But when he told them the reason, instead of saving her they helped him end her life," Ms Hussain said. She then left her husband and has since divorced him. She has received threats from her husband's family and is in hiding. She now works for an organisation campaigning against honour killings.

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