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Pictures | Tue Jan 29, 2013 | 7:55pm GMT

Confined by a blood feud

<p>An Albanian elementary school teacher conducts a home lesson for Zef, 12, Marsel, 7, and Marsela, 9, three Albanian kids who have spent their entire childhood locked inside their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. 

REUTERS/Arben Celi</p>

An Albanian elementary school teacher conducts a home lesson for Zef, 12, Marsel, 7, and Marsela, 9, three Albanian kids who have spent their entire childhood locked inside their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, in the village of...more

An Albanian elementary school teacher conducts a home lesson for Zef, 12, Marsel, 7, and Marsela, 9, three Albanian kids who have spent their entire childhood locked inside their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben Celi

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<p>Marsel, 7, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming victims of a blood feud, tries to dry his wet sneakers in the village of Bardhaj,  north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. 

REUTERS/Arben Celi</p>

Marsel, 7, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming victims of a blood feud, tries to dry his wet sneakers in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben...more

Marsel, 7, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming victims of a blood feud, tries to dry his wet sneakers in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben Celi

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<p>Zef, 12, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, looks out of the window beyond his own front yard in the village of Bardhaj, January 25, 2013. For Zef, that is as far as he and his younger siblings are allowed outside their home over the past 10 years because the aggrieved family has imposed on their family the harsh rule of the Kanun, a 15th century Balkan code that gives it the right to kill the man who pulled the trigger in retribution. But a modern-day interpretation of the Kanun after Albania toppled communism means not just males from the offending family but even children and women might not be spared. Children and women are considered untouchable under the medieval code that many use to justify the killings, which have increased since Albania toppled communism two decades ago, but no one is considered safe nowadays unless the aggrieved family does not expressly pledge to spare them. The government, which has been unsuccessfully trying to stamp out the phenomenon, provides the family with a subsidy of 22 euro a month and a teacher visits the children twice a week to help them catch up with lessons. The family refused to reveal their family name for fear of retaliation. REUTERS/Arben Celi</p>

Zef, 12, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, looks out of the window beyond his own front yard in the village of Bardhaj, January 25, 2013. For Zef, that is as far as he and his...more

Zef, 12, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, looks out of the window beyond his own front yard in the village of Bardhaj, January 25, 2013. For Zef, that is as far as he and his younger siblings are allowed outside their home over the past 10 years because the aggrieved family has imposed on their family the harsh rule of the Kanun, a 15th century Balkan code that gives it the right to kill the man who pulled the trigger in retribution. But a modern-day interpretation of the Kanun after Albania toppled communism means not just males from the offending family but even children and women might not be spared. Children and women are considered untouchable under the medieval code that many use to justify the killings, which have increased since Albania toppled communism two decades ago, but no one is considered safe nowadays unless the aggrieved family does not expressly pledge to spare them. The government, which has been unsuccessfully trying to stamp out the phenomenon, provides the family with a subsidy of 22 euro a month and a teacher visits the children twice a week to help them catch up with lessons. The family refused to reveal their family name for fear of retaliation. REUTERS/Arben Celi

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<p>Marsel, 7, and Marsela, 9, a pair of brother and sister respectively who have never left their house since their family was forced to lock themselves up in their house to avoid being victims of a blood feud, play in their room inside their house in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. 

REUTERS/Arben Celi</p>

Marsel, 7, and Marsela, 9, a pair of brother and sister respectively who have never left their house since their family was forced to lock themselves up in their house to avoid being victims of a blood feud, play in their room inside their house in...more

Marsel, 7, and Marsela, 9, a pair of brother and sister respectively who have never left their house since their family was forced to lock themselves up in their house to avoid being victims of a blood feud, play in their room inside their house in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben Celi

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<p>Marsela, aged 9, takes care of the family cow inside their house in the village of Bardhaj, north of the capital Albanian Tirana, January 25, 2013.  


REUTERS/Arben Celi</p>

Marsela, aged 9, takes care of the family cow inside their house in the village of Bardhaj, north of the capital Albanian Tirana, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben Celi

Marsela, aged 9, takes care of the family cow inside their house in the village of Bardhaj, north of the capital Albanian Tirana, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben Celi

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<p>Zef, Marsel and Marsela, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, hug their teacher who comes twice a week to help them with lessons in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. 

REUTERS/Arben Celi</p>

Zef, Marsel and Marsela, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, hug their teacher who comes twice a week to help them with lessons in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian...more

Zef, Marsel and Marsela, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, hug their teacher who comes twice a week to help them with lessons in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben Celi

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<p>Marsela, aged 9, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home for the last 10 years to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, stands in the yard of their house in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. 

REUTERS/Arben Celi</p>

Marsela, aged 9, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home for the last 10 years to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, stands in the yard of their house in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana,...more

Marsela, aged 9, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home for the last 10 years to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, stands in the yard of their house in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben Celi

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<p>Marsela, aged 9, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home for the last 10 years to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, takes linen from a wardrobe, in their house in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. 

REUTERS/Arben Celi</p>

Marsela, aged 9, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home for the last 10 years to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, takes linen from a wardrobe, in their house in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital...more

Marsela, aged 9, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home for the last 10 years to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, takes linen from a wardrobe, in their house in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben Celi

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<p>Zefi, 12, Marsel, 7, and Marsela, 9, who have spent their entire childhood locked inside their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, play on their bed inside their home, in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. 

REUTERS/Arben Celi</p>

Zefi, 12, Marsel, 7, and Marsela, 9, who have spent their entire childhood locked inside their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, play on their bed inside their home, in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana,...more

Zefi, 12, Marsel, 7, and Marsela, 9, who have spent their entire childhood locked inside their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, play on their bed inside their home, in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben Celi

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<p>Zefi, 12, holds a pillow while his sister Marsela, 9, takes care of their cow inside their house in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. 


 REUTERS/Arben Celi</p>

Zefi, 12, holds a pillow while his sister Marsela, 9, takes care of their cow inside their house in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben Celi

Zefi, 12, holds a pillow while his sister Marsela, 9, takes care of their cow inside their house in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben Celi

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<p>Zefi, 12, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, walks with firewood in his arms in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. 

REUTERS/Arben Celi</p>

Zefi, 12, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, walks with firewood in his arms in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben...more

Zefi, 12, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, walks with firewood in his arms in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben Celi

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<p>Zef, 12, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, looks out of the window beyond his own front yard in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana January 25, 2013. 
REUTERS/Arben Celi</p>

Zef, 12, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, looks out of the window beyond his own front yard in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana January 25, 2013....more

Zef, 12, whose family has been confined inside the walls of their home to avoid becoming the victims of a blood feud, looks out of the window beyond his own front yard in the village of Bardhaj, north of the Albanian capital Tirana January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arben Celi

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