While thirteen year old Romina Ashrafi was still asleep, her father walked into her room with a sickle in his hand and beheaded her with utmost brutality. The Iranian teenager was killed by her father for her alleged affair with a 35 year old man.
In what is being seen as one of the most horrific examples of honour killing, the death of Romina Ashrafi highlights the highly patriarchal society in Iran and its discomforts with women’s freedom and choice. Romina Ashrafi was killed with a sickle in her family home in Hovigh, Talesh county.
It is alleged that Romina Ashrafi had plans of running way with her 35 year old lover after her father had expressed outrage at their plans to get married. Both the families had met with the authorities in this regard and the security forces had also conducted a hunt before they detained the couple and took Romina back to her home.
According to the reports, Romina Ashrafi had told the police that she would be in danger at home and that she feared for her life but despite her pleas, she was handed back to her family as required by Islamic Republic laws.
After killing his daughter, Romina’s father allegedly handed himself over to the police and confessed on having committed the crime, while still holding the bloodied murder weapon in his hands.
The authorities have kept him in custody and the investigations are underway. Romina’s father will escape the death penalty because he was Romina’s ‘guardian’ and Islamic Penal Code means he is exempt from ‘retaliation in kind.’
According to the Sharia law, only ‘blood owners’(immediate family members)are allowed to demand the exception for the murder of a relative. This means that most of the honour killings go unpunished since the families hesitate to demand the death of another family member.
It is a common affair for girls and women to be killed by their relatives in Iran in the guise of defending their honour. The murder of Romina Ashrafi has shocked the entire world.
While we don’t know the exact number of honour killings in Iran but according to the country’s official records, they account for more than 20% of the murders in the country.
Over the last couple of days, the tragic murder of Romina Ashrafi has become the topmost topic for discussions in the Persian world, while it has sparked anger all over the globe. Her funeral announcement, also signed by her father has been widely circulated and condemned on social media platforms.