Compass Direct News, a Christian news agency, said Iraq’s Kurdish regional high court reduced jail time for Asya Ahmad Muhammad, who allegedly fatally stabbed her uncle as he beat her for converting to Christianity and “shaming” the family by working in public.
After reviewing the case for more than two months, the court in Erbil on April 30 upheld an earlier decision by Dohuk’s juvenile court that she was guilty of killing her uncle, though "she acted in defense of herself and others," the news agency said.
Clearing her of an original conviction for "premeditated murder", the court reduced the 15-year-old girl’s sentence from five to three-and-a-half years.
Muhammad’s lawyer, Akram Al-Najar, reportedly said Muhammad stabbed her uncle in July 2006, when he came to her family’s kitchen utensil store outside of Dohuk and began beating her, as well as her mother and brother.
He said she had "grabbed the first thing that her hand came to rest upon," a kitchen knife, striking blindly upwards and accidentally driving the knife through her uncle’s heart. "The defendant was not carrying a weapon prepared to kill,” Al-Najar was quoted as saying.
The case comes amid growing pressure on Christians to leave the country, human rights groups say. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled Iraq because of deadly violence and threats by Islamic militants. Many of them are living as refugees in neighboring nations Jordan and Syria. (With BosNewsLife Monitoring).