BEIRUT: Activists, women and human rights groups Tuesday staged a brief protest outside Beirut's Justice Palace in Adlieh to demand that a man convicted of beating his wife to death two years ago be handed a longer sentence.
The rally, organized by local NGO KAFA (Enough) Violence and Exploitation called for justice “for Manal Assi and all women.”
"How can he be released after 18 months as if he didn't do anything? This is my daughter," Nada Assi, Manal's mother, said to reporters.
Nada had previously dropped her right to legally pursue Manal's husband.
She told Al-Jadeed that her actions came "due to pressure and fear for my children."
"I will not remain silent before those who speak badly about my daughter and her honor," Nada said.
Manal was killed by her husband Mohammad al-Nhaily in 2014.
Nhaily was found guilty of bludgeoning Assi with a pressure cooker and sentenced to five years in prison. Given the nine-month judicial year and time already served, Nhaily will be released in a little over a year’s time. The verdict sparked an outcry from rights groups who described it as “light.”
Iqbal Doughan, president of the Working Women League in Lebanon, read a statement on behalf of Lebanese women’s rights organizations, which said that some men were "creative in creating means to murder women and such a verdict was unacceptable."
"This is not only the case of Manal Assi, it's the cause of the society and upcoming generations."
Iqbal said that "the right to live is a basic human right and we (women) have the right to hold onto it."
"Is Manal and other victims' blood so cheap?" she said.
KAFA released a statement on the case last week explaining that the deadline to appeal the July 14 verdict ends Tuesday.
The group reported that the sentence was based on Article 252 of the penal code, which allows for reduced punishment if a crime occurred as a result of extreme rage caused by “dangerous and wrongful action committed by the victim.”
Resigned Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi announced late last week that he had sent a memo to the State Prosecution of Cassation calling on it to appeal the decision and for the Court of Cassation to do so if it saw legal reasons for it.
The mother of another woman murdered by her husband, Rola Yaacoub, told reporters at the rally that "our daughters have reached the grave because of taboos."
Rola Yaacoub was found comatose at her home in Halba, Akkar, in 2014, and later died upon arrival at the local hospital. Some of Yaacoub’s relatives and neighbors have maintained that Karam al-Bazzi beat his wife and their five daughters on a regular basis, and have been campaigning since her death to have him charged with murder.