Fury as girl, 13, ‘beheaded in sleep by father in horrific honour killing’

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Romina Ashrafi was killed after attempting to run away from home with a 35-year-old man. She was returned to her father, who was furious at her plans to marry the man. According to local media, Romina was handed over to her father by police despite “repeated warnings” she was in danger and feared for her life.

The girl’s father then allegedly killed her in her sleep by beheading her with a curved blade weapon.

According to local media, he then allegedly went to the police station to confess to the crime with the bloodied murder weapon still in his hand.

The killing has sparked a furious backlash.

Shahindokht Molaverdi, an Iranian women’s right activist, said: “Romina is neither the first nor will she be the last victim of honour killings.”

She said killings will continue “as long as the law and dominant cultures in local and global communities are not deterring enough”.

As well as this, the victim’s name was shared more than 50,000 times on Twitter by furious users protesting Iran’s honour killings.

And 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.”

District governor Kazem Razmi said the suspect is currently held in custody and an investigation has been launched into the alleged killing.

However, if convicted Romina’s father will likely not be punished by death under Iranian law because he was the girl’s “guardian”.

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Under Islamic Penal Code, the father is traditionally exempt from “qisas” or “retaliation in kind”.

Under Sharia Law in the Islamic Republic, only immediate family members are entitled to demand execution for the murder of their relative.

Families do not tend to demand the death sentence for another family member, which means honour killings often go unpunished.

The governor of Talesh said: “The details of this case will be made public after the legal process.”

The exact figures for the number of honour killings in Iran are unknown.

But a police official has previously suggested that they make up a fifth of the murder cases in the country.

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