Three Plead Not Guilty to Charges That They Beat Family Member for Talking to a Boy

Three members of an Iraqi family living in Phoenix pleaded not guilty today to assault charges, stemming from allegedly beating another family member for reasons such as refusing an arranged marriage, or because she was talking to a boy.

Yusra Farhan, 50, and Mohammed Altameemi, 45, both pleaded not guilty to assault charges for alleged attacks against their 19-year-old daughter. The girl's younger sister, 18-year-old Tabarak Altameemi, also entered a not-guilty plea for her alleged involvement.

Farhan was arrested twice last month, once after an incident that landed her 19-year-old daughter in the hospital, and again after investigators discovered she allegedly tied up and burned her daughter for refusing an arranged marriage with a 38-year-old man back in November.

According to court documents obtained by New Times, Farhan was initially arrested on February 10 after telling police she beat her daughter with a shoe and tied her to a bed because her "Iraqi culture states that a female is not allowed to be having contact with males because females are not allowed to have boyfriends."

A week later, Mohammed and Tabarak Altameemi were also arrested after police got more details about the beating that put the woman in the hospital last month.

The woman's father, Mohammed Altameemi, got a call from the teacher about his daughter not going to class, which apparently didn't go over too well when she got back to her Phoenix home.

Police say Mohammed Altameemi admitted he hit his daughter when she got home, but she told the cops he also put a knife to her neck and said he was going to kill her.

She told police that she thought her father was actually trying to kill her with a kitchen knife, as she did get a cut more than an inch long on her neck.

Mohammed Altameemi denied using or threatening a knife on his daughter.

After the alleged knife incident, the cops say Tabarak Altameemi "intervened" in the situation after her sister locked herself in her room.

When the woman refused to come out of her room, Tabarak Altameemi, her other sisters, and her mother kicked in the door and all assaulted her, according to police.

The woman later told counselors at school that her mouth was taped shut, and her hands and feet were tied to the bed.

She was taken to the hospital after having an epileptic seizure while tied up to the bed -- the same hospital where Farhan would end up being arrested the first time -- and it's also where police interviewed several family members.

Cops say Tabarak Altameemi admitted to tying up her sister with a metallic rope when they kicked down her door at home, but later told police it was her mother who actually did that.

She also filled police in on the time last year when she shattered a glass over the same sister's head. No reasoning was given for that.

The three family members are facing various assault-related charges, and are due in court again on April 18.

Further reading: click here to read Honor Thy Father, a New Times feature story about an Iraqi man who murdered his daughter because she was becoming too Americanized.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley