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Man gets 21 years for stabbing wife to death

Family of victim, Iman Ahmed Awad, who was pregnant at time of death, condemns lenient sentence, says killing was premeditated

Iman Ahmed Awad (l) who was killed by her husband Muhammad Labidi (r). (courtesy)
Iman Ahmed Awad (l) who was killed by her husband Muhammad Labidi (r). (courtesy)

A man was sentenced to 21 years in prison on Sunday for the 2018 killing of his wife in the northern city of Acre.

Iman Ahmed Awad, 29, was found with multiple stab wounds and her throat slit in her apartment on December 11, 2018. She was pregnant at the time of her death and had a child from a previous marriage.

The Haifa court also ordered the husband, Muhammad Labidi, 40, to pay compensation of NIS 258,000 to the victim’s family.

Labidi was initially charged with murder, but a psychiatrist later ruled that he was “close to an insanity plea,” so he was instead convicted of manslaughter with reduced responsibility.

In the wake of the sentencing, Ahmed’s family slammed the decision, saying that the killing was premeditated and Labidi should have been convicted of murder.

According to the indictment, Labidi collected a knife from a butcher shop owned by his family, and took it to the apartment he shared with Ahmed, three days before he killed her.

On the day of the murder, Labidi entered the bedroom and stabbed Ahmed repeatedly, also slitting her throat.

After the killing, he ran errands with a friend who was apparently unaware of what had happened.

According to the Ynet news site, the killer took his wife’s cellphone and sent text messages to her mother and to himself, in an apparent attempt to deflect suspicion. He later disposed of the phone.

Muhammad Labidi, suspected of killing his wife, appears in court. (Facebook screenshot)

Eventually, Labidi and the friend returned home and Labidi invited him into the home to drink tea. When they entered the apartment together, they saw the woman’s body. Labidi began to break things and later told police that the apartment was in disarray after a burglary, but his alibi did not hold up under investigation.

Ynet said Labidi previously served three years in prison for a number of offenses, including violence.

Awad had not lodged any complaints with the authorities against her husband, whom she had married a few months prior.

Israel has seen high rates of domestic violence in recent years that have persisted despite various government proposals aimed at combatting the issue.

According to the Women’s International Zionist Organization, 20 women were murdered in Israel in 2021. In 2020, 26 women in Israel were murdered, with 13 of them killed by their partners.

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