Iranian man carried wife’s severed head through streets after honour killing - what happened?
An Iranian man was recorded grinning as he walked through the streets carrying his wife’s severed head
Warning: this story contains information that some readers may find distressing.
An Iranian man was caught smiling in a video as he carried the severed head of his teenage wife through the streets of Iran’s southwestern city of Ahvaz.
In one hand he held his wife’s head, and in the other was a blade.
The man is believed to be named Sajjad Heydari.
Mona Heydari, 17, was married to her cousin, Sajjad, when she was just 12 years old. She had a three-year-old son by the time she was killed.
Allegedly, Mona suffered from domestic abuse and expressed a desire to have a divorce, but her family pressured her to stay for the sake of her child.
It is understood she fled to Turkey before being tracked down by her father and her husband.
According to local media, Mona had been in the country for a few days when her husband and his brother reportedly bound her hands and feet before decapitating her.
The brother is said to have wrapped Mona’s body in a blanket and left it in one area, while Sajjid paraded his wife’s head on the streets of Ahvaz on 5 February.
What is seen in the video?
The video sees Sajjid holding his wife’s head in one hand and in the other, a blade. He is looking directly into a camera and grinning while being confronted by residents.
Sajjid and his brother were reportedly arrested after the killing during a “raid operation in their hiding place” according to ILNA, an Iranian news agency.
However, it is unclear what punishment they are likely to face.
The state-run news site Rokna was reportedly shut down for publishing the story and the footage when the incident took place.
What has been said about the crime?
The chief of the State Security Force (SSF) said the motive for Mona’s death was “family differences”.
The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said: “Not a week goes by without some form of honour killing making headlines. The clerical regime’s failure to criminalise these murders has led to a catastrophic rise in honour killings.
“In a report published in 2019, the state-run Sharq daily newspaper wrote that an annual average of 375 to 450 honour killings are recorded in Iran. The murders are more prevalent in Khuzestan, Kurdistan, Ilam, and Sistan and Baluchestan.
“Some women’s rights activists believe that honour killings in Iran are officially justified as ‘family differences’.
“The catastrophic rise in honour killings in Iran is rooted in misogyny and the patriarchal culture institutionalised in the laws and society. Although the father, brother, or husband holds the knife, sickle, or rifle, the murders are rooted in the medieval outlook of the ruling regime.
“The clerical regime’s laws officially denote that women are second-degree citizens owned by men.”
Lawyer Ali Mojtahedzadeh, in the reformist paper Shargh, blamed “legal loopholes” for “paving the way for honour killings”.
On Twitter, the Iranian vice-president in charge of Women and Affairs and families, Ensieh KhazAli, said: "The women call on the Parliament to take urgent measures to fill certain legal loopholes and the authorities must strive at the same time to raise the level of consciousness of the population”.
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