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Monday, February 14, 2011

Noor Almaleki...At the Trial

Noor Faleh Almaleki moved with her family to the U.S. from Iraq in  the mid-1990s, a police spokesman said.
Noor Faleh Almaleki moved with her family to the U.S. from Iraq in the mid-1990s, a police spokesman said.

I have been making some trips downtown to sit in on this trial of international interest. I head into court and sit just a few feet away from an Iraqui-American man accused of bringing Iraqui values to Arizona in the form of "honor" killings of women in the family who have spoiled a man's image of how his family should be.

Faleh Almaleki is currently in a Phoenix courtroom on trial for the hit and run death of his beautiful 20 year old daughter, Noor. Noor, his oldest child, had run away from an arranged Iraqui marriage and into the home of her American boyfriend and his welcoming mother. The boyfriend and his mother were also Iraqui-Americans.

One day Noor spotted her father while she was out with her friend and pseudo mother in law. She texted about it. Moments later, her father's car plowed into the two women. Noor died after eleven days of agony. Mr Almaleki fled the scene. Testimony at trial shows he drove a few blocks and watched the mayhem from a Walgreen's parking lot. He did not call 911. He did continue on to Mexico and then to London. Prosecutors say he deliberately killed his daughter because of her refusal to cooperate with the arranged Iraqui marriage and her embracing of a westernized lifestyle, including choosing to live in a home and manner her father disapproved of.

At trial, Mr. Almaleki is flanked by his lead attorney, a woman, and two other members of his defense team, both women.

Sitting a few feet to his left are two more women, the prosecution team. His ultimate nemesis in this proceeding is lead prosecutor, Laura Reckart.

Sitting a row or two behind them all, I can't help but have the repeating thought that Mr. Almaleki's fate is in the hands of women. Women. Women who chose their own destinies, their own romances, their own living arrangements, their own education and their own life paths.

I wonder how that fact sits on his shoulders.

What I do not wonder is that Noor wished to be one of them. A woman who could develop her own talents and choose how to approach life. Perhaps most viscerally, a woman who could choose whose bed she slept in. That's not hard to imagine at all.

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