Police in Iran has arrested the father of a thirteen-year-old girl today for murdering his daughter as an act of "honor killing", after she fled her parents home with an older man.
The thirteen-year-old girl was killed with a sickle in the city of Hovigh, Talesh county, northern Iran. Her father was detained after widespread reaction to the tragedy across the country and on social media.
Speaking to the Islamic Republic official news agency, IRNA, on Tuesday, May 26, Hovigh district Governor, Kazem Razmi, announced that the murderer was in custody and an investigation into the case was underway with details to be made public after the judicial procedure.
"The suspect, charged with murder, is currently in prison, and authorities are working to complete the case and address its various dimensions," Razmi added.
Meanwhile, the province of Gilan's deputy for social affairs has announced that the prosecutor's office and the Welfare Department have also stepped in to investigate the case.
Earlier, local media reported the brutal murder of the thirteen-year-old schoolgirl in Talesh by her father. The father cut her head with a sickle while she was asleep. The victim had just returned home after eloping to marry her beloved man.
The thirteen-year-old, Romina Ashrafi had fallen in love with a man in her hometown and after her father vehemently opposed their marriage, fled with him, local media reported.
Following a complaint by the families of the two, security forces detained Romina and her boyfriend.
In the meantime, even though Romina had repeatedly warned that her father was a temperamental person and her life was in danger, she was handed over to her father as required by Islamic Republic laws.
According to another local website, Khazaronline, Romina's return led to ever-increasing tensions and disputes, "As the father could not cope with his daughter's eloping, he decided to kill her. On May 21, as other members of the family were away, the father brutally cut Romina's head while she was asleep", Khazaronline said.
Based on other reports, the father, sickle in hand, surrendered himself to the police and confessed to killing his thirteen-year-old daughter.
The deputy of the province of Gilan's Welfare organization for social affairs, Reza Jafari, described the murder as "an example of blatant violations of children's rights" and said, his department "will make every effort to ensure the rights of the child. Furthermore, based on Article 5 of the Children Protection Act, the Prosecutor's office has also stepped in to investigate the case".
Although Romina's father has been arrested, according to Article 220 of the Islamic Penal Code, as the guardian of the murdered girl, he will not be punished by death. Many on social media speculate that he will receive a light sentence.
At the same time, the Maidan website has interviewed the man who had eloped with Romina. His name is Bahman, and he is 35-year-old. Many are also asking why he is not detained for having a relationship with a 13-year-old. Again, what has saved him so far is Islamic law that considers a 13-year-old girl ready for marriage.
The tragic murder of the teenager in love and her brutal beheading is the top issue on Persian-speaking cyberspace. Her funeral announcement, also signed by her father, has been widely circulated and criticized on social media.
Meanwhile, Rokna News Agency wrote that the Islamic Republic Deputy President, Masoumeh Ebtekar, has cited Hassan Rouhani issuing a "special order" to investigate the murder.
Every year in Iran, women, and girls are killed by their male relatives under the guise of defending their honor.
The exact number of the so-called honor-killings in Iran is not known, but in 2014, a Tehran police official reported that 20 percent of murders in Iran were honor killings.
"According to statistics, in 2013, 18.8 percent of homicides were motivated by honor and religion-related excuses, and the provinces of Khuzestan, Fars, and East Azarbaijan are among the provinces with the highest number of such homicides", Khabar Online reported.