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Iraqi brides face court-ordered virginity tests

By Katerina Nikolas     Jul 2, 2012 in World
Baghdad - Whilst the law in Iraq allows men to take four wives, Iraqi women are subjected to honor killings if their virtue is questioned, often tested by forced court ordered virginity tests.
Doctors in Baghdad are now objecting to the forced virginity tests that brides are often subjected to, claiming they shame women. Alarabiya reported Dr. Munjid al-Rezali, the director of Baghdad's Medical Legal Institute (MLI) said several court-ordered virginity tests take place there each day, with "Most of the cases we received after the first day of marriage."
When a man doubts his wife's virginity he may take the matter to court where a judge can order a medical test which only determines if the hymen is broken.
Dr. Rezali said “The husband claim that she is not a virgin, and then the family brings her here, through the courts, this all come through the courts, and we examine her. It’s not uncommon, we are seeing a lot.” He added "They think that during the marriage, (the) first day of marriage, there should be blood... they think if there is no blood, there is no virginity.”
According to the doctor impotent men try to cover their condition to hide their own shame, by claiming the bride is not a virgin. Such allegations can have disastrous consequences for the woman though as Human Rights Watch report that honor crimes remain a threat to Iraqi women.
Marianne Mollmann of Amnesty International said “The issue of virginity testing, and forced virginity testing and sort of legal virginity tests in court proceedings or in other ways, violate a whole host of human rights and are just not justifiable. Even if it were legitimate to look at whether women were virgins for whatever reason, which it’s not, you can’t use a virginity test for that, because the hymen might break for any reason."
CBS News reported a 2011 Human Rights Watch report stated that Iraqi law "limits the prison sentence to less than three years for an honor killing of a wife by her husband."
More about Virginity tests, Iraqi women, Human rights watch, medical legal institute baghdad
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