Suspects in rape of seven-year-old girl released on bail by Erbil court: family

NRT reporter Amir talks with the seven-year-old girl in Erbil

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SULAIMANI — Five people suspected of involvement in the the rape of a seven-year-old girl have been released on bail by a court in Erbil, the victim's family has said.

The girl's father told NRT Digital Media on Wednesday (June 19) that three youths kidnapped and raped his daughter in April. He also alleged that the girl's step-mother and a sister of the step-mother helped facilitate the kidnapping.

The five were detained by police after the incident was disclosed, the father said.

The step-mother and her sister had already been released on bail, according to the father, and that the three suspected perpetrators were also released on June 17.

“I was waiting for the execution of the three, but I was told they were released,” the father told NRT Digital Media.

The father says that he has been approached several times by the families of the suspects in an effort to reach a settlement out of court, but said that he has rejected those offers and is determined that the case is prosecuted according to the law.

Authorities at Kurdistan Save the Children said they would investigate the incident and will meet with the public prosecutor.

“If this case is true and these criminals were released, we will [undertake] all legal measures. We will pressure the public prosecutor not to release these criminals and to ensure that there won’t be a pardon for them,” said head of Kurdistan Save the Children Bakir Rahman.

NRT Digital Media reached out to the court for comment, but a spokesperson was not immediately available. The court has yet to release a statement about the release of the five suspects.

Lawyer Aso Hashim criticized the court, saying that the judiciary deals with some cases in a weak manner.

“Provision two of Article 393 [of Iraqi Penal Code] refers to that crime in a very aggravated way. That case could carry the death penalty as well,” he told NRT Digital Media.

According to the law, rape is aggravated if it meets certain standards, including if the victim is a juvenile or a virgin or if the rape is perpetrated by multiple people, all of which are alleged in this case. The statute also cites the involvement of a relative or guardian as grounds for considering it to be aggravated.

“The phase that the courts are passing through in the Kurdistan Region is very dangerous,” Hashim added.

(NRT Digital Media)