With a rise in religious ultra-conservatism in Indonesia, a report of an honour killing has emerged. The brothers of Rosmini binte Darwis brutally murdered her in front of their family. Rosmini's family did not intervene as it was believed that she was having an affair with a distant relative. Rosmini's murder raises concern as it could instigate more deaths in the name of "honour killing".

The 16-year-old schoolgirl was at her home in Bantaeng, South Sulawesi on May 9, as her school was shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rosmini's health had declined as she had been vomiting and fainting for weeks. Instead of taking her to a doctor, her family had taken her to a shaman. The shaman told her family that the young girl had been possessed.

Learning about Rosmini's illness, her cousin Usman had gone to her home to pay a visit. During his visit, Rosmini's 30-year-old brother, Rahman, accused Usman of using black magic to make her ill. During the heated exchange, Rosmini reportedly confessed that she and Usman had been physically intimate. Usman denied Rosmini's claims.

At Rosmini's admission, Rahman turned violent and started beating Usman with a log. Usman managed to escape from his relatives. Rahman and his 20-year-old brother, Surianto, chased Usman but were unable to catch him. The brothers eventually gave up on the chase and returned home.

On their way back home, they allegedly forced a young man from their neighbourhood to return to their home with them. They intended to force the man to marry Rosmini to save the family honour.

The brothers asked their family members to gather in a room. The young man they abducted refused to marry Rosmini. According to the South China Morning Post, the brothers then hacked and beat Rosmini with a machete and a log. Her family watched as she was murdered in front of them.

Police arrested Rahman and Surianto for Rosmini's murder. Police stated that it cannot be proven if Rosmini and Usman had sexual relations. Honour killings are rare in Indonesia. However, in a country with a patriarchal society, a single case of honour killing can encourage others to follow suit.

Honour killing
16-year-old girl was hacked to death by her brothers over alleged affair with a relative. (representational image) Reuters