March 11, 2007

Sakina and Raya: Egyptian Serial Killers


Sakina and Raya
In the music video I posted about earlier, Egyptian singer Shams' song Ahlan Ezayek, Shams in one scene plays the part of Sakina and Raya. Concidered to be some of the 20th centuries most ruthless criminals and have inspired the makings of both movies and theatrical plays in their name.

In the year 1919 in a poor district of Alexandria called Al-Labban, the two sisters began their murder spree. They had opened several brothel like houses which they ran together. Raya would often be the one going to markets eyeing out the women with the most jewelry on them (in order to steal it) and striking up conversation using some excuse to lure them to their brothels. There both the sisters husbands would help them kill the victims through suffocation and bury them in the back yard.
One day in 1920 a man noted the authorities, he had found a skull in the grounds of his house (previously owned by Sakina). Police began sniffing a trail that literally led them to her sister Raya who was burning unusual amounts of incense in her house. Raya had 2 bodies in her grounds while 15 other bodies were found at Sakinas house. The victims were all women, mostly married, in the ages 17-50.

The death sentence, at that time hanging, had never been given to females previously. However Raya and Sakina broke that trend and were hanged in 1921, along with their husbands and two other helpers.

What I find particulary noteworthy about this piece of fascinating and disturbing history is the motivation for previously not issuing the death sentence to women as stated by the Public Prosecutor of that time, Suleiman Ezzat; "...women's crimes generally demand an element of mercy and compassion, such as crimes in which women are driven to kill their husbands' second wives or in which they poison someone who has brought them harm."

14 comments:

Destitute Rebel said...

What a fascinating story Shaira, where do you come up with this information. I didn't know there was such a law at one time, but even today judges and juries show compassion to women what commit crimes when harm is brought to them or their children.

A world of Symphony said...

Death Sentence - very controversial and never ending so I best keep my trap shut - LOL.

Liz Carroll's music in Al-Baal Cafe is like a preview of upcoming attraction for me. To the vast expanse of spaces in Glasgow & Dublin, here I come for the egg hunt; are you ready to embrace me? - LOL :)

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

D Reb, I am thirsty for fascinating stories and info!

Well I highlighted teh law to say basically how they used to reason about women, the classic view of women as passionate irrational beings.

The funny part is, today they use this type of law application on men of honor crimes in eg. Jordan...how twisted.

AWOS, well am no fan of death penalty at all. I just found the story fascinating and also the legal reasoning abt death penalty and women at that time.

Concider yourself EMBRACED! lol How can I deny a fasting friend lol
I absolutely love this tune of hers, what melancholy soul soothing and aching strokes of her violin.

archer14 said...

Fascinating stuff - both the music and the 'article'...fits it pretty well. Thanks, I discovered Liz Carrol today...heading over to torrentland.

P.S? Me blog is dead, not me though. :-P

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Hey arch :) Yeah I figured they went well together. Liz is super cool, she knows how to play a violin for sure.

Glad to see ke aap zinda ho lol

Fahad said...

Salaam u Alaikum Fascinating story and a very nice blog...keep it up ..

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Wa aleikum salam fahad, welcome :)

I dropped by your blogs as well, interesting effort.

All the best!

A world of Symphony said...

SS: Again off-key as usual.

Do you have any of Ella's songs from the JATP era - you know the songs with Joe Pass on Guitar and the usual OP (Oscar Peterson) trio on piano/bass/drums?

Outpoint, I'm a freako for Joe's guitar sound :)

I can't find any on Limewire? Any tips?

EXSENO said...

A most fascinating story, but I wonder what their motive was. Did they ever find out why they targeted these women? Perhaps there was no motive, just four sick minded people.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Hey Exseno :)

Actualy the motive was robbery, they took the jewelry of these women. Hence why they eyed out the women with most jewelry. They were of course, in addition, totally ruthless.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Awos my friend, I do not seem to have any of those songs, but, I will do my best to see where you can get hold of them. I will let you know if I find them :)

Mohamed said...

Welcome to one of the darkest chapters of Alexandria's history..
A little added detail: their house was JUST BEHIND the police station. And apparently, the trick worked...

The story entered the 'collective memory' of egyptians but in a far less tragic way than the story actually was. there was even a comedy theatre act about them, which is now a classic...

Anonymous said...

My comment is this, after the ripper had disappeared of the face of the earth 30 odd years prior.It seems very odd to me, that there was a british army base nearby, and once again, women were butchered.Its common knowledge that the ripper was either of royal blood or else of a high stance in the british aristocracy, but nothing has ever been proven, though its thought Queen Victoria took the knowledge to the grave of the rippers identity.At the time the murders happened in egypt, egypt was under british rule, with a lot of atrocities committed by british soldiers,gone unheard.So, whether these 2 women were patsies, in other words a cover up for the real killer, needs to be seen...

Anonymous said...

Sweet! I looooooove conspiracy theories!!! Keep 'em coming...