Girl, 13, beheaded by her father while she slept in Iranian honour killing

Girl, 13, is ‘beheaded by her father while she slept in Iranian honour killing’: Victim ‘had fallen in love with an older man’

  • The teenage girl had previously told authorities she feared for her life 
  • Her father allegedly beheaded her using a sickle in the family home in Talesh
  • Local media say he handed himself into police, still holding the murder weapon 

A 13-year-old Iranian girl has been beheaded in an honour killing by her father while she was sleeping, local media have claimed. 

Romina Ashrafi was killed with a sickle in her family home in Hovigh, Talesh county, as a form of ‘punishment’, reports said. 

She had planned to run away with an older man she had fallen in love with, Iran International TV said. 

The teenage girl initially fled the family home with a 35-year-old man after her father expressed outrage at their plans to get married. 

Romina Ashrafi was killed with a sickle in her family home in Hovigh, Talesh county as a form of ‘punishment’, local media have reported

But both of their families contacted authorities, leading security forces to conduct a hunt before detaining the couple and taking Romina home. 

Local media reported that although Romina told authorities she would be in danger at home and feared for her life, they handed her back as required by Islamic Republic laws. 

After committing the murder, Romina’s father allegedly handed himself in to police and confessed to the crime – while still holding the bloodied murder weapon. 

District governor Kazem Razmi said the girl’s father is being held in custody and an investigation into the case is underway. 

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.