ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Ministry of Health announced late Thursday the death of a child at a Baghdad hospital, allegedly as a result of physical abuse at the hands of her stepmother.
The seven-year-old girl, named as Rahaf in a statement released by the ministry, was rushed by her stepmother to a hospital in the Iraqi capital after losing consciousness.
The Ministry of Interior, in a statement of its own, said that the woman had claimed the child was suffering from a fever and needed treatment. However, signs of abuse were apparent to the doctors examining the unconscious girl.
According to an earlier Health Ministry statement, the medical staff at Baghdad's al-Shaheed al-Sadr Hospital was "making every effort" to save her, reporting at the time that she was "in critical condition." Hours later, the ministry announced the girl's death in a follow-up statement.
In graphic pictures posted on the Health Ministry's social media page, bruises and what appear to be burns can be seen on various parts of the girl's body.
The public hospital, located in Baghdad's Sadr City, claimed in an online statement that there were signs of "beating, torture, and burns" all over her and that she had also suffered "a severe brain hemorrhage caused by a blow to the head."
In a video released on the ministry's Facebook page, an examining doctor can be heard stating that her burns could have been caused by electric shocks, adding that the treatment given to her was not sufficient to save her life due to the severity of her condition upon arrival.
A local court later issued an arrest warrant for the girl's stepmother, purportedly on allegations of lethal abuse.
Editing by John J. Catherine