Nine years after violently killing his wife Rola Yaacoob, Karam Al-Bazi has been finally sentenced to prison on Wednesday yet for 5 years only despite the horrific crime he had committed.
Rola Yaacoob, a mother of five children, was killed in 2013 after being brutally abused by her husband. The judiciary somehow acquitted him twice, in 2014 and 2018, alleging a lack of evidence.
Leila Yaacoob, Rola’s mother, did not give up in her pursuit of justice for her daughter. Her last request for an appeal of the verdict was granted in 2019, leading to the retrial of Al-Bazi.
The bereaved mother was not alone in her fight for justice. She was supported by KAFA (Enough Violence), a non-profit civil society organization that works in protecting and aiding women under domestic violence.
For 9 years, KAFA has been on Rola Yaacoub’s file, assisting her mother on this long painful journey.
In a FB post on Wednesday, the organization announced the verdict: “The Court of Cassation today sentenced the accused to 5 years in prison.”
The verdict includes a monetary compensation Al-Bazi has to pay the mother, amounting to a mere 300 million LBP.
Domestic violence continues to be rampant across the country with little to no protection by the judiciary and authorities. Victims have to rely on pertinent NGOs, like KAFA and ABAAD, for help but most keep to themselves, fearing societal shame and the retaliations of the husband or the male legal guardian.
As observed in the case of Roula Yaacoob, cases get rejected or dismissed in courts, rulings take years to be issued, if any, and verdicts do not match the magnitude of the crimes and their consequences on the family, notably the children.
It does bring to question the handling of femicide cases by the Lebanese judiciary when the victim is a wife versus a woman killed by a stranger who is not her “legal guardian.”