Gilan: heartbreaking story for mother of two children

Photo by Molly Blackbird for

By Laila Ahmed in Diyala

Gilan Saoud, 28-years-old mother of two kids, was found dead last Friday at home in Khanaqin district, northeast of Baghdad, strung up with a rope. The incident came after the deepening of quarrel with her husband, who married another woman a year ago, as confirmed by the families of both parties.

Gilan was found hanged by a rope on the rooftop of her house on the afternoon of Friday, June 10, 2022, and a letter was found saying, "I am tired, can no longer bear anything, and this is my last day," but the message aroused the suspicion of Gilan's mother.

The accident caused a big problem between Gilan's family and her husband’s, and a quarrel erupted between the two parties before receiving Gilan's body at the hospital and later during the funeral ceremony.


Ahead of the storm

According to Nihayat, the mother-in-law of Gilan, on the day of the death of her sister-in-law, Gilan and her two children woke up at 12 noon, and after they had lunch together, Gilan bathed with her two children.

“While they were at the dining table Gilan kissed her husband. It was a strange thing of her, I felt that something was going to happen," the mother-in-law said.

GIlan was living at the first floor, a small flat above her mother-in-law’s yet they were having the meals together at one table.

It was a strange thing of her, I felt that something was going to happen

"I felt that she was not feeling well, I felt that she was going to a far place and would not return, so I asked her what is there, my daughter, and she said nothing, Aunt."

After lunch, Gilan's husband "goes out of the house" to a party hall that he rents for weddings and other events, after a phone call.

At 2:30 pm, Gilan's 7-year-old daughter runs downstairs and says, "Grandma, help us."

Nihayat says that when she went upstairs and saw Gilan hanging herself with a rope, she panicked a lot and screamed. “We took her to the hospital, after informing the police, who took the body to the hospital by themselves.”

According to her family's account, Gilan passed away before arriving at the hospital.


Quarrel arises

After Gilan's mother and brother went to the hospital and saw her corpse, an altercation occurred there between them and Gilan's husband, which turned into a fighting.

Gilan's mother, Pakshan Jahanbakhsh, told (KirkukNow), "I washed my daughter's body myself, there were bruises and traces of beatings on her body... I doubt that she hanged herself, I don't believe that... It seems that her husband put the rope in her neck because it was so tight, it's hard for a woman to pull the rope so hard."

"She visited me few days ago. She didn't talk about any problems, so I don't think she committed suicide," the sobbing mother added. On this basis, Gilan's family filed a lawsuit against the husband, Shiwana, and he was arrested.

While they were in the hospital, Gilan's brother punched their brother-in-law and a quarrel broke out between them. Later, the police arrested Shiwana and sent him to prison, and another quarrel occurred between relatives of the two parties during the funeral.


Back to the marriage story

Gilan married Shiwana nine years ago, after a love affair, when Gilan was a sixth-grade student.

Jahanbakhsh says that they were against the marriage because she was still a student, but the insistence of the Shiwana’s family and their daughter's desire to marry him, made them agree to that marriage.

Gilan, mother of two, has a 7-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son.

"My daughter was constantly in trouble with her husband and mother-in-law. As a result, she left her home in 2011 and stayed with me for several months. Their problems knocked on the doors of the courts and they were on the verge of divorce, but after that she preferred to go back to her children," Jahanbakhsh recalls.


The second wife ruined Gilan's house

One of the reasons that prompted Gilan to leave her home, according to her mother, is that her husband married a second woman last year, "this severely frustrated Gilan."

"Her husband's family used to insult her and beat her constantly. They sometimes called her a thief. Whenever something disappeared in the house, they accused her of stealing it. These behaviors frustrated her a lot," and indicated that they "prevented" her from getting a degree,” Jahanbakhsh added.

The family of Shiwana reject all the charges, arguing Gilan has psychological disturbances.

Her husband's family used to insult her and beat her constantly

"These statements are not true, I treated her like my daughters, I always helped her, but she was suffering from a mental illness, she felt depressed from time to time and did not realize what she was doing, and sometimes it was normal", the mother-in-law insisted but KirkukNow could not obtain any evidence to prove whether Gilan suffers from a mental illness or not.

Gilan's mother says that during her marriage, her daughter left her home several times, but she returned to her husband every time of her own desire and for the sake of her children.

One of Gilan's other problems, according to her mother, was that she did not want to live with her mother-in-law, but "her husband said he could not secure the rent", even though Shawana's second wife, a lawyer, lived with them in the same house in the beginning yet several months ago, she moved to another house.

"Shiwana's second wife set my daughter's house on fire...Since he married her, Shiwana no longer cared for my daughter as before and beat her several times," said Gilan's mother.

Shiwana's family affirmed that Gilan left behind a letter in which she wrote, "My mental state is tired, I can no longer bear anything, and this is my last day."

Shiwana's second wife set my daughter's house on fire

(KirkukNow) did not see the content of the letter, but the relatives of both parties confirmed that this was the text of the letter.

"This letter is not for Gilan, its aim is to cover up the case," the mother argues.

For her part, the mother-in-law stressed that "the message belongs to Gilan," and pointed out that Gilan "attempted suicide several times by taking pills."

"I was not supportive of the idea of ​​my son getting married again but it was not up to me. I could not prevent him from doing so... That marriage brought with it problems to Gilan's house."


'Suicide is not the solution'

Gilan was, according to her mother, dreaming of completing her studies in plastic surgery because she was working in a beauty salon.

An official in Khanaqin police, who asked not to be named, told KirkukNow "We removed her body from her home... There was a rope around her neck and she was hanged... The first thing we did was arrest her husband, and he is now in prison and the investigation into the circumstances of the case is still ongoing."

"We are waiting for the medical report to be issued before referring the case to the court."

This comes after the Gilan family filed a lawsuit against the husband.

This incident is the second of its kind this year in Khanaqin, which falls within the framework of family problems, police confirmed.

In the first accident, a woman was killed inside her home and her case has not been resolved yet.

The director of combating violence against women in Khanaqin, Sajida Muhammad, says, "The second marriage exacerbated the problems of that family until this unfortunate incident occurred."

According to the laws in force in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq KRI, the husband is not entitled to marry a second wife, except in the case of the approval of the first wife. But the law in Iraq allows a man to marry a second, third, and fourth wife, according to Islamic law (Sharia).

Khanaqin district, which is one of the disputed areas within Diyala province, operates under the laws of the Iraqi parliament, so second marriage is permissible for the husband.

The director of combating violence called on women to contact the Directorate for Combating Violence against Women in case they are subjected to domestic violence.

“We will appoint lawyers to defend them… Suicide is not the solution, there are other ways.”

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