Horror as girl, 13, is beheaded in honour killing by her father 

Horror as girl, 13, is beheaded in honour killing by her father 

The so-called honour killing of a 13-year-old Iranian girl by her father, who reportedly used a sickle to behead her as she slept, has prompted a nationwide outcry.

Reza Ashrafi, now in custody, was apparently enraged when he killed his daughter Romina on Thursday after she ran away with 34-year-old Bahamn Khavari in Talesh county, about 320 kilometres northwest of the capital, Tehran.

In parts of the Middle East, including Iran, blame would typically fall on a runaway girl for purportedly having sullied her family’s honour, rather than on an adult male luring away a child.

Romina was found five days after leaving home and taken to a police station, from where her father took her home. The girl reportedly told the police she feared a violent reaction from her father.

On Wednesday, Romina Ashrafi’s case led Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to urge his Cabinet to speed up harsher laws against such killings and he pushed for speedy adoption of relevant legislation.

Iran’s judiciary said Romina’s case will be tried in a special court. Under the current law, her father faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Iran’s vice president in charge of family affairs, Masoumeh Ebtekar, expressed hope that a bill with harsher punishments will soon be in the final stages of approval.

Shahnaz Sajjadi, an aide to the president on human rights affairs, on Wednesday told the khabaronline.ir news website: “We 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.”