We have long discussed the plight of young girls in Muslim nations who have been handed over as child brides in arranged marriages. Wasila Umaru, 14, however, decided not to go quietly into a marriage with a 35-year-old man. She made a meal for the groom and three friends and poisoned them all to death.
Umaru used rat poison for the murderers — just one week after her arranged marriage.
The question is how the law should treat a young girl in such a circumstance. Her family and her community had abandoned her and subjected her to a marriage that would be considered a form of rape in many countries. Yet, she reportedly committed four murders.
In some countries, she could claim a battered spouse defense. These cases often involve responses where women killed in atypical ways and often after attack or abuse has occurred. I have seen cases in my career where women have killed days after an attack. including one years ago where a woman drenched her husband with gasoline and lit him on fire.
How much of a mitigating factor should the age and arranged marriage be in such a case? Do you think it could be a complete defense as a form of insanity?
Source: Montreal Gazette