Palestinian police have freed a woman whose father has kept her locked in a bathroom for the last decade.
Baraa Melham, aged 20, was found in a “despicable” condition on Saturday in the West Bank town of Qalqiliya when authorities discovered her, according to a report from Adnan Damiri, a Palestinian police spokesman.
Melham’s father locked her away in the bathroom after she ran away from home at age 10 to escape her violent father.
Authorities returned Melham home, after which her father locked her in the space and made her sign a statement saying that she did not wish to return to school, according to a report from the Daily Mail.
She was allowed to come out of the bathroom every night in order to do housework, and received continuous physical attacks and threats from her father and stepmother. Melham did not see sunlight for the entire decade, as her guardians encouraged the young girl to commit suicide.
Her father permitted her to listen to the radio and eat one apple every day. He also allowed her to have a blanket.
He would often threaten to rape her until she became pregnant so that he could kill her and call the murder an “honor killing.”
Police finally found Melham after they were given a tip from her aunt.
The young woman is now living with her mother, who divorced her father when she was almost 4 years old. Her father was given custody over her, and Melham’s brother was given to their mother.
The mother was granted custody over her son because her ex-husband used to spray perfume in the young boy’s eyes. At the time, he had not yet abused his daughter.
Melham’s father and stepmother are now in police custody, pending a court hearing.