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Woman fears for Iraqi girl's safety after return to family

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

CBS 5 News has been following the story of a local Iraqi woman beaten by her family for talking to a boy.

On Tuesday, a Superior Court judge sentenced members of her family to probation and allowed them to be reunited.

A woman reached out to CBS 5 News on Wednesday after she heard the sentence.

She said she is someone who knows the family well. She did not want to reveal her identity, but she couldn't hide her concern.

"I want to save the girl's life. Period," said the caller.  

The former friend of the Iraqi family said yesterday's news made her sick to her stomach.

"I felt I'm going to just vomit. I was so upset," she said over the phone.

In court, 19-year-old Aiya Altameemi pleaded with a judge Tuesday to go home, saying she felt like the loneliest girl on Earth.

"I want to go back to my one and only family," the girl said to Judge Joseph Kreamer.

According to court paperwork, the family tied the girl up and beat her inside their Phoenix home in February for talking to a boy.

The judge sentenced her mother, Yusra Farhan, her father, Mohammed Altameemi, and sister, Tabarak Altameemi, to two years supervised probation after they all pleaded to lesser charges in October. Afterwards, the judge allowed Aiya to have contact with her family once again.

The caller fears the worst.

"If anything ever happens to this girl, my conscience will kill me. That's why I want to speak up," she said.

The former friend said Aiya confided in her about the abuse after moving to this country four years ago.

"She always complained that they ‘hit me for everything I do,'" said the woman. 

The woman is convinced that since those attacks continued things may only get worse for the girl.

"I think she's hiding so much inside, that either one day she'll commit suicide or she'll be dead in her house or somebody will threaten her," said the caller.

The woman said she tried telling the refugee family the beatings were against the law here in America.

"They wouldn't budge, saying, 'This is the way we are. We are Iraqis. We are from the old school. This is our religion. This is our culture,'" she recounted.

CBS 5 spoke with a Deputy Chief at Maricopa County Adult Probation who explained the specialized conditions of the family's probation. He said the safety of the victim is paramount.

The department plans to meet with the family, review the history of violence and make an assessment as to how often they need to be supervised and what kind of educational programs they might benefit from.

Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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