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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 July, 2005, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Jordanian kills child for 'honour'
A teenage Jordanian girl who ran away from home has been battered to death by her father, who claimed she violated his family's honour, reports say.

The father reportedly pledged not to harm his daughter when he collected her from the authorities, who had found her in the town of Zarqa, north of Amman.

Medical tests on the girl before she was returned to her father indicated she was still a virgin, officials say.

Jordanian MPs have opposed stricter penalties for "honour killings."

Under existing laws, people found guilty of murdering female relatives on the alleged grounds of guarding familial honour can be released from jail after only six months.

In September last year, Jordanian lawmakers rejected plans to make the punishments more severe.

'Government failure'

The girl, who has not been named, had told police she ran away from home with her mute sister to escape an abusive father.

She was reportedly detained by the authorities "for fear her family might kill her".

Her mute sister is still missing.

According to Dr Ibrahim Obeidat, an examiner at Zarqa's Prince Faisal Hospital quoted by the Associated Press news agency, medical tests on the girl showed "she was not involved in any sexual activities".

Her father was allowed to take custody of her after he promised in writing that she would not be harmed, Dr Obeidat said.

At least 19 women lost their lives in "honour killings" in Jordan last year.

Many were killed by male family-members on suspicion of being involved with men.

In April, US charity Human Rights Watch accused Jordan's government of failing to protect women from such crimes.

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