A father in Iran has been arrested for allegedly beheading his 14-year-old daughter in a so-called ‘honor killing,’ after discovering she ran away from home with her boyfriend.
Romina Ashrafi ran away with her 35-year-old boyfriend to elope once her father refused to give permission for the two to marry.
Romina’s father reported the runaways and the couple was later found by police subsequent to a five-day hunt.
While detained, Ashrafi reportedly warned a judge that she feared for her life upon her return home, but Islamic Republic law required her to be sent back to her father.
According to reports, when Ashrafi was in her family home last Thursday night, her father came into her room and allegedly decapitated his daughter with a sickle while she was sleeping.
This is just one example of an ‘honor killing,’ signifying the murder of an individual who tarnishes the family name by going against Islamic law. These killings are often carried out by close family members, such as a father or brother.
In Romina’s case, running away from home to pursue a love interest without the permission of her family fell into this category even though Iranian girls are legally allowed to marry after the age of 13.
After murdering his own daughter, Romina’s father turned himself into the authorities and confessed to taking her life. He has since been charged with murder.
Since murder is considered a “matter between private parties” in Iran where the victim must “impose retribution,” in cases such as Romina’s, the law favors the father where punishment is in the form of compensation “to survivors of the victim” where mothers “generally forgo the demand for punishment,” according to the International Federation for Human Rights.
It follows that as Romina’s father is her guardian, he is exempt from the death penalty, but this case is set to be tried in a special court, where he could reportedly face up to a 10-year prison sentence.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for his cabinet to create stricter laws surrounding these ‘honor killings.’
However, the new Iranian parliament, which is controlled by conservatives, could potentially bury the bill altogether.