A criminal court in Paphos on Thursday sentenced the estranged husband of slain Ghada Al Nouri from Syria to 18 years, after he was found guilty of manslaughter.
After prosecutors dropped premeditated murder charges during his trial, a panel of criminal judges sentenced 42-year-old Hussein Farouh to 18 years for killing his wife back in January.
The Syrian national who admitted stabbing his 31-year-old wife in her Paphos home in late January, was initially facing premeditated murder charges for killing his estranged wife in front of some of their children.
Farouh, who had a restraining order against him at the time of the incident, filed by his wife, admitted later to investigators that he killed her “in a moment of rage” while local media said the Syrian national was jealous over his wife’s and feelings for another man.
In the Republic of Cyprus, while premeditated murder carries an automatic life sentence, a manslaughter conviction carries up to life in prison.
The judge said the victim’s relationship with another man, while the married couple was living separate lives, could not amount to 'dishonor' in this day and age
Before handing down an 18-year sentence, the presiding judge in the case said she took into consideration the man’s clean criminal record and additional circumstances “up to a certain degree” but rejected the defence lawyer’s argument who said Farouh cooperated with crime investigators.
The defence lawyer had argued for a lenient sentence, saying his client had cooperated with police investigators, but the judges refuted the claim, saying Farouh initially denied killing his wife.
But the main argument by the defence was also struck down during the trial, with presiding judge Rea Limnatitou rejecting the lawyer’s position that his client had previously tolerated his wife’s “dishonor” until the last moment when her (adulterous) behaviour “broke him morally.”
Judge Limnatitou said there could be no excuse for stabbing the woman with a knife, causing her to bleed and then abandoning her, nor was it an acceptable defence to claim that “honour” could be a sufficient trigger in the incident.
Limnatitou also went on to say that the victim’s relationship with another man, while the married couple was living separate lives, could not amount to “dishonor” in this day and age.
Farouh was described in court as a jealous husband, a selfish man who obsessed over his wife’s personal life without taking into consideration that she was the mother of their seven children, the judges said.
“The defendant committed the abhorrent offence against the victim while their younger children were at home,” said the presiding judge, adding it was “even more tragic in the fact that his exact actions came to light after their innocent six-year-old daughter gave an account of what she saw.”
Through an interpreter, the 6-year-old girl told authorities that she was sleeping when she suddenly heard screams. It was not clear whether the child’s account was referring to the night of January 19 or early morning of January 20.
Daugther saw what dad did to mom
“She saw her dad stabbing her mom with a knife and her mom was groaning and then she closed her eyes,” it was heard in court.
Farouh then told his children to leave their mother and go with him, according to the testimony.
Reports said Al Nouri had complained numerous times about her husband’s jealousy and violence, with a friend of the victim telling the court that the defendant used to strike his wife because he thought she was having an affair.
The victim, who had a total of seven children together with her estranged husband, had travelled to Cyprus in 2018 in a boat from Lebanon to join him on the island, bringing along five of their children.
Victim had requested help from the state
She later sought help from state authorities but was unable to move to a safe house offered to her due to logistical concerns over her five children.
Reports said social workers from the state went to visit the victim on January 20 around 11:30am, where they found her on the floor in the living room, lying on her back unconscious.
It was not fully clear whether she had phoned authorities after the incident. It was reported in local media that the social workers had gone to the victim’s home to discuss her living conditions and provide assistance when they found her on the floor.
Fellow Syrians turned him in
Farouh was apprehended on January 23 after police were tipped off about his whereabouts and proceeded to raid an establishment which ten other Syrian males had been using as a residence.
It later turned out that the Syrian men had refused to help the murder suspect find a way out of Cyprus and instead notified authorities. Police detained the ten men for questioning on suspicion of being accessories to a crime but they were all released.
The same reports also alleged that the main suspect had confided in his fellow men that he had killed his wife to restore honour.