A Syrian father who lives in Ħamrun has been arrested after being accused of beating his daughter and attempting to force her to marry a man he had chosen in what is being called a “crime of honour”.
The 15-year-old daughter reportedly asked the police for help when officers visited the family home in Ħamrun to investigate the allegations, a Maltese court was told today.
The daughter was seen to be visibly bruised, police said. They were investigating the case after receiving a report via Facebook, TVM reported – it is yet unclear who made the initial report.
In court, prosecutors said that the girl had claimed that her father would beat her regularly over small infractions such as not wearing the hijab at home, and he allegedly wouldn’t let her take prescribed pills from her psychiatrist.
And it wasn’t only the girl – the girl’s brother had previously reported domestic violence at home to the police and Aġenzija Appoġġ.
The father denied the allegations, saying his daughter had passed through a trauma when the family was forced to flee Syria.
He said this experience had left her with psychological problems and caused her to self-harm. He also said he couldn’t’ have beaten his daughter as he is always at work, and said that if he was kept arrested his family would have financial problems.
Magistrate Joe Mifsud concluded that these accusations fall under “honour crimes” and went on to say that in Malta people are free to wear what they want. Mifsud also said forced marriages are unacceptable.
The girl will now be staying at a home run by Aġenzija Appoġġ while the father will remain in custody. The name of the father will be not be revealed by court order to protect his family’s identity.