Iranian man who beheaded teenage daughter sentenced to nine years in prison

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An Iranian man who beheaded his teenage daughter in a so-called “honor killing” back in May has been sentenced to nine years in prison, the victim’s mother said on Friday.

The victim’s mother, Rana Dashti, said she intends to appeal for a harsher sentence against her husband, Reza Ashrafi, who beheaded their 13-year-old daughter Romina Ashrafi in her sleep on May 14 in a so-called “honor killing” that shook Iran and stoked a nationwide outcry.

The court’s verdict has “caused fear and panic in me and my family,” Dashti told the semi-official ILNA news agency.

“I object to this verdict and I want to appeal to the Supreme Court,” she said.

Dashti said she worries about the safety of her only other child should her husband be released, saying: “I do not want my husband to ever return to our village.”

Iranians have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the verdict on social media.

Many noted that the country regularly issues much harsher sentences for journalists and activists.

A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran's Evin prison in Iran on June 13, 2006. (File photo: AP)
A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran's Evin prison in Iran on June 13, 2006. (File photo: AP)

The victim, Romina Ashrafi, had run away from home with an older man – reportedly 35 years old – following her father’s opposition to the two getting married.

The man Ashrafi had run away with has been sentenced to two years in prison, her mother said.

Ashrafi was found and handed over to her father by the police despite her “repeated warnings” that she would be in danger at home, according to reports. The incident occurred in the city of Talesh in the northern province of Gilan.

Iran’s judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi had promised at the time that the case will be dealt with in a manner that would deter others from committing similar acts.

Many Iranians believe the country’s laws facilitate “honor killings” by being overly lenient on those who carry them out.

A month before killing his daughter, Ashrafi had checked and found out through his son-in-law, who is a lawyer, that based on Iran’s laws, he would not receive the death penalty for killing his own child, an Iranian daily reported.

A father who kills his child is not considered a murderer and escapes the death penalty, according to Iran’s laws. Yet last month Iran executed a man for drinking alcohol.

The exact figures for honor killings in Iran are unknown.

In 2014, Hadi Mostafaei, a senior police official at the time, said that honor killings made up 20 percent of the murder cases in the country.

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