The father of a 13-year-old girl in Iran beheaded her with a farming sickle while she was sleeping, reputedly as an “honor killing” for falling in love with an older man.
Romina Ashrafi, who lived in Hovigh, Talesh county, had fled her home after her father said he was furious that she planned to marry 35-year-old Bahamn Khavari.
This 13-year old Iranian girl, Rumina, is a victim of anti-women laws in Iran.
A 35-year old man tricked her into eloping with him.
Then, she was arrested. The judge decided to hand her over to her dad.
Her dad cut her head off in her sleep.
There was no-one to save her pic.twitter.com/US1E6ep5cq
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) May 26, 2020
The families of both Khavafri and Romina contacted authorities, triggering a five-day search that culminated with Romina being returned to her home, despite the fact that Romina said her life would be endangered by returning home. The father later turned himself in to police as he held the bloody sickle.
The Daily Mail noted that Romina’s return to her home was “required by Islamic Republic laws,” adding, “Iranian laws mean girls can marry after the age of 13, though the average age of marriage for Iranian women is 23.”
Iran International pointed out, “According to the Sharia law, only the ‘blood owners’ (the immediate family members) are allowed to demand execution for the murder of their loved one, therefore most honor killings go unpunished or with little punishment since the family will not demand the death sentence for another family member.”
“Since he is the ‘guardian’ of the victim, based on Iran’s Islamic penal code, the father will be exempt from ‘qisas,’ an Islamic term meaning ‘retaliation in kind,’ or retributive justice,” Al Arabiya reported.
Fariba Sahraei, senior editor at Iran International, pointed out that Romina’s death was exceptional even in a world used to honor killings: “Every year in Iran, women, and girls are killed by their male relatives under the guise of defending their honor, but the nature of Romina Ashrafi’s murder is one that has shocked the country and the rest of the world.”
The Daily Mail added, “While the exact number of honour killings in Iran is not known, a Tehran police official has previously said they account for around 20 per cent of Iran’s murders.”
Shahindokht Molaverdi, a former vice-president for women and family affairs and the current secretary of Iran’s Society for Protecting Women’s Rights, wrote: “Romina is neither the first nor the last victim of honor killings; As long as the law, the judiciary and the prevailing culture of the local and global communities do not have the necessary deterrence and serve this human crime by encouraging and promoting it!”
The U.S. State Department noted in 2019, “The law reduces punitive measures for fathers and other family members who are convicted of murder or physically harming children in domestic violence or ‘honor killings.’ If a man is found guilty of murdering his daughter, the punishment is between three and 10 years in prison rather than the normal death sentence or payment of diyeh for homicide cases.”
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