Raya and Sakina

Raya and Sakina

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Raya and Sakina, were Egypt’s most infamous serial killers. Raya and Sakina, along with their husbands and two other men began killing women in the Labban neighborhood of Alexandria in the early days of the 20th century.They used the chaos in the streets as the perfect cover for their criminal activities, and the fact that they were taking place in one of the poorest districts in Alexandria, made it even less noticeable to the public who was more concerned about the state of their nation.
Despite the slum appearance of the neighborhood, its proximity to where the British soldiers were based made it prime real estate for the women to set up a series of brothels. Raya and Sakina operated a drug and prostitution ring in the Labban district of Alexandria. The police were plagued by increasing reports of missing women. Common details in the report indicated that bodies found were all women, wearing gold jewelry, and were known to be carrying a large amount of money. On the morning of 11 December 1920, a passerby discovered human remains on the side of the road; the body was damaged beyond recognition (except for its long hair) and was completely dismembered.
The murderers’ confessions revealed that they would drug the victims by offering them a drink, then strangle them, working as a team, each with a specific task: One of the killers would clamp his hands over the victim’s mouth, another would grab hold of her throat, a third would hold her hands behind her back and the fourth would pin down her feet until she stopped breathing. Raya’s husband, Abdel-Aal was in charge of holding the feet. On the trial, Raya confessed “I myself have cut the throats of six women. My first victim was called Hanem. I leaned over Hanem as if to whisper in her ear. Soon after death had passed.” “After a throat-cutting or smothering we took off the jewellery and searched for the valuables, which were divided. I had to look sharp to make sure I was not cheated out of my share.”
The trial of Raya and Sakina lasted three days in May, 1921. The court issued the death sentence against Raya and Sakina, their husbands and another two thugs, who had taken part in the actual murders of 17 women. Raya and Sakina became the first Egyptian women to be executed by the modern state of Egypt. The legendary story of Raya and Sakina is still alive among Egyptians, scary for its events, funny as it was transformed in one of the best classic plays in the history of the Egyptian cinema, and mysterious for the many versions of its events.


Raya and Sakina murdered:

17 women
25 women
19 women

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