An Iranian man this week carried the severed head of his wife through the streets after decapitating her in an ‘honor killing’ after she tried to flee the country.
The unnamed man beheaded his wife Mona Heydari, 17, in the southwestern city of Ahvaz on Saturday before carrying her severed head around the streets.
The young wife is understood to have fled to Turkey after her family discovered that she had an affair.
But she was tracked to the country and brought back to Iran by her father and her husband this week, according to local media reports.
The victim was just 12 when she was married to the man – who is also her cousin – and had a three-year-old son by the time she was killed.
Authorities have arrested the husband and his brother on charges of killing Mona in revenge for adultery and leaving him. Police did not release the men’s names.
Gruesome footage showed the husband grinning as he held a knife in one hand and carrying what was said to be his wife’s decapitated head in another.
The incident has shocked many people in Iran where the legal age for marriage is 13 and women are compelled to wear a head covering in accordance with Islam.
Iranian newspapers and social media saw an outpouring of shock and rage over the killing, with many demanding social and legal reforms.
‘A human being was decapitated, her head was displayed on the streets and the killer was proud,’ said the reformist daily Sazandegi.
‘How can we accept such a tragedy? We must act so that femicide does not happen again.’
Lawyer Ali Mojtahedzadeh, in the reformist paper Shargh, blamed ‘legal loopholes’ for ‘paving the way for honour killings.
Fellow member of parliament Elham Nadaf told the ILNA news agency: ‘Unfortunately, we are witnessing such incidents because there are no concrete measures to ensure the implementation of laws to prevent violence against women.’
Semi-official news agency ILNA quoted police officer Col. Sohrab Hosseinnejad as saying the two ‘defendants confessed to the murder during the police investigation and were introduced to the judicial authority.
Local media said police did not elaborate further on the killing or who filmed the gruesome video of the husband carrying his wife’s head.
Iran’s media watchdog shut down news website Rokna for publishing the video footage, the state-run IRAN newspaper reported on Monday.
According to the report, a media supervisory board on Sunday closed the website because of its continuing to ‘publish images and issues that violate public decency’.
Iran has a long history of closures of media outlets, with authorities shutting down Jahan-e Sanat newspaper in 2020 after it quoted a former member of the national Covid taskforce as saying the country’s death toll from the pandemic could be 20 times higher than official figures.
Mona’s killing was believed to have been an ‘honour killing’, according to local media, which refers to the killing of a relative who is perceived to have brought dishonour on the family.
Sharia law says that only ‘blood owners’ – immediate family members – are allowed to demand execution for the murder of a relative.
It means most honour killings go unpunished since families tend not to demand the death sentence for another family member.
In April 2021, a 50-year-old man shot to death his nine-year-old son and seven of his in-laws in the city of Ahvaz.
In June 2020, Reyhaneh Ameri, from Kerman in south-central Iran, was bludgeoned to death after being attacked with an iron bar by her father.
Local media reported that the 22-year-old survived for nearly 24 hours after the attack but bled to death from her injuries.
During the same week, 19-year-old Fatemeh Barahi was beheaded by her husband after running away just two days into their forced marriage.
The 23-year-old man, who was also his wife’s cousin, handed himself into the Valiasr police station in Abadan, southwestern Iran while holding a bloody knife.
He told officers that he had beheaded his wife due to her ‘infidelity’ and had left her decapitated body by the Bahar 56 area next to the Bahmanshir River, reported Iran International TV at the time.
At the end of May 2020, a 13-year-old Iranian girl was beheaded in an honour killing by her father while she was sleeping, local media claimed.
Iranian laws mean girls can marry after the age of 13, though the average age of marriage for Iranian women is 23.
While the exact number of honour killings in Iran is not known, a Tehran police official has previously said they account for around 20 per cent of Iran’s murders.
Source: Daily Mail