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Iraqi Women Victimized By Tribal Marriage Customs

In patriarchal and tribal Iraq, thousands of women are forced into unwanted marriages with little to no legal recourse.
Newly married Iraqi couples arrive at a hotel for a mass wedding reception in central Baghdad, 07 December 2007. Around 70 couples celebrated their wedding today together at a hotel in central Baghdad. AFP PHOTO/ALI YUSSEF (Photo credit should read ALI YUSSEF/AFP/Getty Images)
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NINEVEH, Iraq — She set her small body on fire after pouring several liters of kerosene over herself and lighting a match. This is how she ended her life after her father refused to allow her to marry her lover and insisted she marry someone she did not know.

Shahnaz, who was not yet 25 years old, died at a burn center in Nineveh in April 2010 after physicians failed to save her from the injuries that disfigured her entire body. She is now another number on the long list of tragic victims of forced marriages.

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