In a third “honor killing” in less than a month, a 22-year-old woman bled to death after her father hit her with an iron bar, leading to widespread demand for justice in Iran where a father killing his child is not considered a murder.
The victim, identified as Rayhaneh Ameri from Kerman province, was killed by her father last Sunday night because she had returned home late, according to Radio Farda.
The following morning, Reyhaneh’s mother and sister found her garments soaked in blood, and police found traces of blood leading to her father’s car. After being caught, the father confessed to killing his daughter.
The father, who reportedly regrets having murdered daughter, put her body in the trunk of his car and disposed of her body in a nearby village.
"[B]ased on a forensic report, Rayhaneh was alive two hours before police discovered what had happened but had died of profuse bleeding," Radio Farda added.
Honor killings are prevalent in some hardline Muslim societies, as well as in some Asian countries, where relatives kill family members who they believe have disgraced the family in some way. Iran’s law doesn’t treat a father who kills his child as a murderer, nor does it make him liable for the death penalty.
In May, a 14-year-old Iranian girl, Romina Ashrafi, was beheaded by her father in Gilan province after she ran away with an older man who had groomed her.
According to Gilkhabar.ir, Ashrafi was brutally dismembered with a sickle, a tool with a curved blade that is generally used to harvest crops. Following the crime, the girl's father confessed to the crime “with the sickle in his hand” outside of the house.
Citing local media, the BBC reports that Ashrafi ran away from her home in Iran’s Gilan province with the 34-year-old man, Bahamn Khavari, after her father objected to their marriage. The couple was found by police five days later. Although Romina reportedly warned police that her life would be in danger if she returned home, they escorted her back to her family.
Also in May, an 18-year-old girl was killed when her brother set fire to the house she was in, in retaliation for her marrying an older man, according to The Jerusalem Post.
After Ashrafi’s beheading, Iran President Hassan Rouhani called on his cabinet to swiftly enact stricter laws on honor killings.
Masoumeh Ebtekar, Iran’s vice president of family affairs, told The Associated Press at the time that he hoped a bill creating harsher punishments for honor killings would make it through its final stages of approval.
The U.N.’s Children’s Fund also issued a statement condemning Ashrafi’s murder. “At a time when families all over the world are staying home to protect themselves from COVID-19, it’s particularly devastating that a child loses her life in such a brutal act of violence.”
Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad wrote on Twitter that Ashrafi wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last victim of honor killings in Iran if laws aren't changed.
“Years ago, Atefeh Navidi, a young girl from Iran, had her head chopped off by her father as well because she had a boyfriend. As you can hear from the interview I had with the mom, she’s hesitant to defend her daughter,” Alinejad wrote. “For as long as the current laws discriminating against girls and empowering abusive parents exist, unfortunately, the cycle of violence will continue. Iran will see more Ruminas and Atefehs tragically killed by their fathers. This cycle of violence needs to end.”