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The woman who returned from the dead to face an impossible choice


Turkey

The woman who returned from the dead to face an impossible choice

She’s the victim of a gripping and extraordinary tale of kidnap that escaping would mean death for either her or the father of her three children.

Fahire Kara, trapped in a Catch-22 of Saudi Arabian law, faces being stoned to death for adultery or see the father of her children executed.

The story all began on July 2, 1990, when Kara travelled from her home in Batman, Turkey, on a pilgrimage to Mecca with her husband, Abdoullah.

That day, their lives, like so many others, would change for ever.

As thousands of pilgrims passed through a tunnel linking the Grand Mosque with the Mina Desert, a panic began, leading to a stampede. A total of 1,426 people were crushed to death or asphyxiated, including almost 450 Turks

Seriously injured, Abdullah stumbled through the carnage and piles of bodies, searching for his wife.

He found her on the point of death, saying the Muslim creed to cleanse her soul.

But, after rescuers arrived and Abdoullah was rushed to hospital, the couple again became separated.

After being discharged from hospital, Abdoullah once again began a grisly search for his wife, examining bodies in morgues and visiting hospitals, this time without success. He returned home in mourning.

Years later Fahire’s children in Turkey began hearing rumours of a Turkish souvenir seller telling an incredible story to pilgrims at Mecca: that she had been kidnapped and was pleading for help in trying to find her family.

They turned to investigative journalist Müge Anlı to find out more.

Further details began to emerge about a Yemeni man and his Turkish wife. It allowed Anlı to reconstruct Fahire’s incredible story and uncover the horrifying choice she would have to make.

When the authorities in Mecca first learned of the incident in the tunnel, they had been unprepared for anything of such magnitude. Scrambling to summon a response they called to action all municipal workers from the surrounding district to support the rescue operation. So when a local rubbish collector turned up at the site and left with a woman he said he was taking to hospital, in the chaos and disorganisation there was no reason to check or doubt his claim.

In fact Fahire was taken to a house in Medina where she was imprisoned for six years. She was allowed out of the house only after becoming pregnant and giving birth to what would be the first of three children with her new ‘husband’.

Finally she caught wind of the international hunt on the television, and yet did nothing to make her situation known or return to her first family.

Why not? Because she has become trapped in a catch-22 of Saudi Arabian law. Should she attempt to leave her new home, she would have to either

Denounce her kidnapper, which would mean drawing a sentence of public execution on the father of her three youngest children.

Admit to adultery, which would subject her to a punishment of stoning to death

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