Iran’s Guardian Council has denied that the beheading of a teenage girl by her father was the result of “negligence” on their part amid criticism over a new child protection law.
According to local media, Romina Ashrafi, 14, ran away from home with her 34-year-old Bahamn Khavari after her dad opposed them marrying.
The girl was eventually found by police and was later returned home and placed under the care of her father in Hovigh in Talesh County in northern Iran.
According to reports, she was handed over to her dad despite “repeated warnings” that to do so would put her life in danger.
The girl’s father allegedly killed her in her sleep by beheading her with a curved blade believed to be a farming sickle.
According to local media, he then went to the police station with the murder weapon in his hand and confessed to the crime.
The apparent ‘honour killing’ of the teenage girl sparked outrage across Iran and Masoumeh Ebtekar, vice president for Women and Family Affairs, criticised the delay of a child protection bill by the 12-member Guardian Council.
Ebtekar claimed that the bill was in its “final phase” of approval and that she was urging the Council, which ensures that legislation complies with the Iranian constitution and sharia law, to pass it quickly.
She added that the Council has requested changes three times after the bill had already been passed by lawmakers.
However, Guardian Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaee said: “There has been no negligence on the part of the council, and I don’t see any link between this bill and the fact that this abominable crime took place.”
Kadkhodaee added that the council has some “objections” with the bill and that lawmakers could have organised an emergency meeting to redraft it.
He also said: “One law alone cannot resolve such problems (apparent ‘honour killings’) which have a cultural, social and even economic dimension.”
According to local media, the victim’s father will escape the death penalty because he was her ‘guardian’ and he is expected to face a lenient punishment of just three to 10 years behind bars which could even be further reduced.
While the exact figures for the number of honour killings in Iran are unknown, a police official has previously suggested that they make up a fifth of the murder cases in the country.
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.