Honor killing is the murder of a family member on account of him bringing disgrace to his relatives.
Activists around the world say the most prevalent reason behind honor killing include: a refusal of a person to be involved with an arranged marriage, being at the receiving end of a sexual assault as well as keeping extramarital or premarital affairs.
In Iran, adult males charged with murdering their own daughters only get punitive measures usually ranging from 3-10 years imprisonment, instead of the normal death sentence for cases of murder.
According to the U.S State Department, although there are no reliable statistics on the incidence of honor killing among Iranians, rights advocates in 2019 state that honor killings keep on occurring, especially among tribal and rural populations.
Al Jazeera News report that Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s President, has directed his cabinet to hasten the passage of tougher legislations to tackle the menace of ‘honor killings’ amid a burgeoning outcry over the incidence of an Iranian father beheading his own teenage daughter with the use of a sickle.
On Wednesday this week, Rouhani clamored for a swift adoption of necessary bills, some of whom state-owned organizations in Iran have been slow about passing into law.
Last week, Talesh, located almost 350 kilometers northwest of Tehran, got into the news following the murder of Romina Ashrafi, which has since triggered a massive social media protest.
Reza Ashraf, Romina’s father, allegedly used a sharp farmers’ sickle to behead his teenage daughter while she was enjoying a sound sleep.
Reza, who is now cooling his heels in police cell, was obviously angry about Romina’s bold decision to elope with her 34 years old lover, Bahamn Khavari, in Talesh.
Five days after the lovers escaped, police authorities were contacted and they soon discovered the lovebird. The police consequently sent Romina home despite her complaints her father might not take things easy with her afterwards.
There is not much information on the subject of ‘honor killings’ in Iran, where local journalists hardly report on such cases.
Under Iranian law, girls could get married as long as they are older than age 13, although the average age of marriage for Iranian adults is 23. It is unknown how many females are murdered by family members or close relatives on account of them running away with their preferred boyfriends.
An act like this is usually seen as offending conservative family members or societal expectations on marriage.
According to Iranian judiciary, Romina’s case will be tried in a special court with the chances of her father being slammed with an imprisonment of up to a decade.
In another development, the BBC reports that Romina went into hiding with her lover after her father for reasons best known to him, refused her daughter getting married to the unnamed man.
The BBC says after Reza reportedly attacked Romina on Thursday night of May 21, he immediately went outside to alert the public of his heinous crime.
Meanwhile, a buzzword has been created on Twitter, with almost 1 million using it to condemn the incidence of ‘honor killing’ and promote sound leadership in Iranian home fronts.
Also, ABC News reports that the Vice President for Women and Family Matters advocates for the swift passage of a women rights’ bill during a conference with state executives on Wednesday. She believes the passage of a woman rights bill into law will help look into matters of rights abuse involving vulnerable persons such as women and children.
The Guardian Newspapers also reports that Shahnaz Sajjadi, a presidential aide on Human Rights Affairs, on Wednesday informed journalists that Iran would review the ideology that home was a place of safety for vulnerable persons such as women and children because certain crimes that happen against these category of persons in the society are not as gory as those that happen within the domestic scene.
In conventional Middle Eastern societies such as Iran, Iraq and others, girls who run away from home with their lovers ordinarily get blamed for destroying their family’s reputation, while no blame is apportioned to adult males who may be guilty of being the mastermind.