A South Florida mother who used a knife to burn her teen daughter after the girl resisted her parents' wishes to marry her cousin in an arranged marriage is facing child abuse charges, Hollywood Police said Tuesday.
Sahar Thabit, 35, was arrested Friday and is facing three counts of child abuse on her 17-year-old daughter, according to a Hollywood Police arrest affidavit.
According to the affidavit, the abuse began in early January when Thabit used a stove to heat up the metal on the knife and burn her daughter's arm three times, twice on her left forearm and once on her upper right arm.
"I swear to God I didn't see anything," the victim's grandfather, Ali Alomari, told NBC 6 outside the family's home Tuesday.
The burns caused permanent disfigurement, the report noted.
A friend of the girl reported the abuse to a school administrator, who later called police, the affidavit said.
According to the friend, the teen said her parents became upset because she didn't want to marry her cousin, but wanted to marry a boy in Yemen she had met on the Internet, the affidavit said.
The daughter later told police that she had been talking to the boy in Yemen through the Internet, even though it's not allowed in the family's religion.
The girl's friend also said the parents verbally and mentally abused their daughter calling her a whore and slut, the affidavit said. The friend also said the girl had attempted suicide over the incident, the affidavit said.
When the victim's father was questioned by detectives, he claimed she had been burned by a stove until it was pointed out that the burns were in three different areas, the affidavit said. The father then asked for an attorney, the affidavit said.
The girl's grandfather gave the same explanation Tuesday, saying, "She burned herself in the stove."
After interviewing witnesses and the victim, police determined Thabit had placed the knife on her daughter's arms, the affidavit said.
Detectives weren't able to interview Thabit because she only speaks Arabic, the affidavit said. She was arrested and later released on bond, and it's unknown whether she has an attorney.
The girl's father told NBC 6 over the phone that the family is going through difficult times with the allegations and said he had no comment.
Lenore Walker, a psychology professor at Nova Southeastern University, said the alleged abuse in the case is similar to an honor killing.
”The rationale is that you're shaming your family by getting involved with a boy or a man who is unacceptable for whatever reason. In this particular case, it's because she was promised to another man and so she talked on the Internet, not even face to face," Walker said.
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