Sulaimani court holds first day of trial for man accused of setting fatal fire that killed woman, three children

Occurred last December in Chamchamal
An undated photo of Sewan Qadir and two of her children (File)

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SULAIMANI — The trial of a man accused of setting a fire that killed his wife and three children nearly a year ago in Chamchamal began in a courtroom in Sulaimani on Sunday (November 17).

On December 16, a fire broke out in a house in Chamchamal's Asuda neighborhood. Three children – aged five, two, and one – all died that day.

Their 23-year-old mother, Sewan Qadir, suffered severe burns and passed away the next day at Sulaimani Emergency Hospital.

Her husband Dyar Majeed was arrested shortly thereafter.

Sewan’s family told reporters outside Sulaimani Criminal Court that the judge had independently listened to all the witnesses in the case.

“The only deserving penalty for the man is execution. We just accept that, nothing else,” a family member said, referring to Majeed.

Lawyer Kosalan Mohammed said the court had not yet set the next trial date, but that the court understood the parameters of the case.

Mohammed added the trial had been postponed from an earlier date because the family wanted to transfer the case from the court in Chamchamal to Sulaimani.

“I want that guy to get execution,” Sewan’s father said. “If someone burned four persons, he should not remain alive. He should not remain alive for someone else to burn.”

The trial begins just days before the beginning of the annual international campaign 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. Numerous events are expected to take place in the Kurdistan Region between November 25 and December 10.

Violence against women is rife in the Region undercutting its international reputation for tolerance.

The Directorate for Combating Violence Against Women and Families in Erbil said that 22 women were murdered in the first six months of the year. In that period, 846 complaints were made to the directorate or nearly five per day.

Since then, there have been several other high profile murders of women in Erbil and Sulaimani.

(NRT Digital Media)