Hon­our killing of teen causes na­tion­wide out­cry

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIO­NAL -

THE SO-CALLED hon­our killing of a 14-year-old Ira­nian girl by her fa­ther, who re­port­edly used a farm­ing sickle to be­head her as she slept, has prompted a na­tion­wide out­cry.

Reza Ashrafi, now in cus­tody, was ap­par­ently en­raged when he killed his daugh­ter Rom­ina on Thurs­day af­ter she ran away with 34-year-old Ba­hamn Khavari in Talesh, some 320 kilo­me­tres (198 miles) north­west of the cap­i­tal, Tehran.

In tra­di­tional so­ci­eties in the Mid­dle East, in­clud­ing Iran, blame would typ­i­cally fall on a run­away girl for pur­port­edly hav­ing sul­lied her fam­ily’s hon­our, rather than on an adult male lur­ing away a child.

Rom­ina was found five days af­ter leav­ing home and taken to a po­lice sta­tion, from where her fa­ther brought her back home. The girl re­port­edly told the po­lice she feared a vi­o­lent re­ac­tion from her fa­ther.

On Wed­nes­day, a num­ber of na­tional newspapers fea­tured the story promi­nently and the so­cial me­dia hash­tag #Rom­i­naAshrafi re­port­edly has been used thou­sands of times on so­cial me­dia, with most users con­demn­ing the killing.

Pro­posed leg­is­la­tion against hon­our killings has ap­par­ently shut­tled for years among var­i­ous de­ci­sion-mak­ing bod­ies in Iran.

HARSHER LAWS

On Wed­nes­day, Rom­ina Ashrafi’s case led Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani to urge his Cabi­net to speed up harsher laws against such killings, and he pushed for speedy adop­tion of rel­e­vant leg­is­la­tion.

There is lit­tle data on hon­our killings in Iran, where lo­cal me­dia oc­ca­sion­ally re­port on such cases. Un­der the law, girls can marry af­ter the age of 13, though the av­er­age age of mar­riage for Ira­nian women is 23. It is not known how many women and young girls are killed by fam­ily mem­bers or close rel­a­tives be­cause of their ac­tions, per­ceived as vi­o­lat­ing con­ser­va­tive Is­lamic norms on love and mar­riage.

Iran’s ju­di­ciary said Rom­ina’s case will be tried in a spe­cial court. Un­der the cur­rent law, her fa­ther faces a prison sen­tence of up to 10 years.

Iran’s vice-pres­i­dent in charge of fam­ily af­fairs, Ma­soumeh Ebtekar, ex­pressed hope that a bill with harsher pun­ish­ments will soon be in the fi­nal stages of ap­proval.

Shah­naz Sa­j­jadi, an aide to the pres­i­dent on hu­man rights af­fairs, on Wed­nes­day told the khabaron­line. ir news web­site: “We should re­vise the idea that home is a safe place for chil­dren and women. Crimes that hap­pen against women in the so­ci­ety are less than those that hap­pen in the homes.”

AP

Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani.

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