Parents of a 16-year-old Texas girl, who were arrested Friday for allegedly beating, choking and pouring hot cooking oil on her body after she refused an arranged marriage, was released on bond Sunday.
Authorities said Abdulah Fahmi Al Hishmawi, 34, and Hamdiyah Saha Al Hishmawi, 33, were accused of physically abusing their daughter, Maarib Al Hishmawi. They also attempted to force her into an arranged marriage with an older man.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said the teen’s family had arranged for her to marry a man in another city and also a sum of $20,000 would be exchanged.
“This young lady, at various times over that time period was subjected to some pretty bad abuse because she didn’t want to be married to this person,” Salazar said. “Several times it was reported to us that this young lady was abused with hot cooking oil being thrown on her body. She was beat with broomsticks. At least at one point, she was choked almost to the point of unconsciousness.”
Maarib’s parents allegedly beat her with broomsticks, choked her until she went unconscious, and poured hot cooking oil on her because she did not want to get married, the sheriff added.
The teen ran away from her family’s home in San Antonio and was reported missing on Jan. 30 after she was last seen leaving Taft High School, where she was reportedly a student. Salazar said authorities found her mid-March, adding that the girl had been taken in by an organization after she ran away and had been kept safe.
The teen was placed in Child Protective Services with her five siblings, the sheriff said. However, it was not made clear if her siblings were also abused.
Her parents were charged with continuous violence against a family member and was taken into custody Friday night, however, they were released on separate $30,000 bonds Sunday.
Talks about the arranged marriage to a 28-year-old man began in 2017. Maarib, who was 15 at the time, was set to marry a man in another city in exchange for $20,000, Salazar said.
The sheriff said he believes other charges will be filed in connection with this case, adding that it’s “highly likely” the man who Maarib was arranged to be married to will be charged as well.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI announced that they were investigating her disappearance in late February. BCSO Assistant Chief Deputy Ronald Bennett said earlier that Maarib was physically abused by someone she knew.
“I cannot speculate on who (abused her), or when, or how severe. I do understand that this has been a recurring issue for her according to some interviews,” Bennett said in a February press conference.
The family reportedly moved to the United States from Iraq two years ago, according to KSAT-TV. The FBI had been called in to assist in the investigation due to Maarib’s ethnicity, Bennet said. The FBI also helped the Sheriff’s Office navigate language barriers and understand cultural aspects of the Iraqi girl’s life.