A 13-year-old girl has been allegedly beheaded in her sleep by her dad in what has been described as a honour killing after he found out about her plans to marry a 34-year-old, it has been reported.
Romina Ashrafi was killed with a farming sickle in her family home in Hovigh, Talesh county, Iran, as a form of “punishment” for her actions, reports claim.
The teenage girl initially fled the family home with a 34-year-old man she had fallen in love with after her father disagreed to allow them to get married, Iran International TV said.
The pair were later caught by the authorities after their families filed complaints. Romina was returned home, despite ‘repeated warnings’ that she feared for her life before her father then allegedly murdered her with a sickle on May 21.
After the murder, the girl’s father allegedly handed himself in and admitted to the murder, while still holding the blood-soaked weapon.
District Governor Kazem Razmi confirmed that the girl’s father is being held in custody and an investigation into the case is underway.
Speaking to local media, the governor added that “the details of this case will be made public after the legal process”.
The Vice President for Women’s Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar has also announced a ‘special order’ to investigate the murder, Iran International said.
Romina’s father will escape the death penalty because he was Romina’s ‘guardian’, and Islamic Penal Code means he is exempt from ‘qisas’, or ‘retaliation in kind’, Al Arabiya reported.
Sharia law says that only ‘blood owners’ – immediate family members – are allowed to demand execution for the murder of a relative.
It means most honour killings go unpunished since families tend not to demand the death sentence for another family member.
Fariba Sahraei, senior editor at Iran International, said: ‘Every year in Iran, women, and girls are killed by their male relatives under the guise of defending their honour, but the nature of Romina Ashrafi’s murder is one that has shocked the country and the rest of the world.’
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.