An Iranian girl was beheaded by her father in an “honor killing” while she was fast asleep, prompting a national outcry, local media have claimed.
Romina Ashrafi, 13, was killed Thursday by Reza Ashraf as punishment for running away with a 34-year-old man from her home in Talesh, Iran International TV reported.
The teenage girl reportedly fell in love with the older man, Bahamn Khavari, in her hometown, but her father opposed their relationship and she eloped with him, the outlet reported.
Both of their families called on authorities to have them brought home, despite the teen warning that would put her life in danger, according to the report.
She was located five days later with her lover and handed over to her father as required by Islamic Republic law, the outlet reported.
While she was asleep in a family room, her dad beheaded her with a sickle, according to the report.
Following the murder, the father showed up to the police, sickle in hand, and confessed to killing the teen, the outlet reported.
Under current law, he faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, The Post reported.
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.
But the slaying has prompted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to call on his cabinet to fast-track harsher laws against “honor killings,” which are often carried out by relatives who believe the women have gone against conservative Islamic values on love and marriage.
Her case has also provoked outcry on social media, where the hashtag #RominaAshrafi has been used thousands of times, mostly to condemn the killing.
Shahnaz Sajjadi, an aide to the president on human rights affairs, said the country “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,” the aide told local media.
Iranian laws mean girls can marry after the age of 13, though the average age of marriage for Iranian women is 23, according to Dailymail.
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.’