In a shocking case that rocked the nation, an Iranian man was sentenced to more than eight years in prison for beheading his wife and showing her head to the public, the judiciary announced on Wednesday.
Mona Heidari, 17, was murdered by her husband and brother-in-law in February 2022 in Ahwaz, the provincial capital of Khuzestan in the southwest.
An outpouring of grief and fury in the Islamic Republic was ignited by a video that later surfaced showing the woman’s joyful husband carrying around her severed head in the street.
She reportedly went to Turkey after her husband allegedly beat her up and refused to grant her a divorce, according to local media.
A few days before her death in February of last year, she had returned to Iran after allegedly receiving assurances from her family that she would be safe.
According to judicial spokesman Massoud Setayeshi, Sajjad Heydari was given a seven-and-a-half-year prison term for murder and an extra eight months for assault on Wednesday.
He clarified that the decision was by Iranian law, which holds that purposeful murder is punishable by death unless the victim’s family pardons the offender.
He claimed that Mona’s brother-in-law received a 45-month term for his involvement in the murder.
The horrifying murder renewed calls in Iran for legislation to stop domestic abuse and protect victims.
Instead of requesting ”qesas”, Iran’s Islamic law of revenge, the Heidari family had granted the murderer’s killer a pardon.
The spokesman stated, “The accused has no right to protest against the verdict and the decision is final.”
The source continued “The second defendant in the case, Heidar Heidarnava, was sentenced to 45 months in prison for complicity in intentional homicide.”
There were also requests to raise the marital age requirement for raising children. Although it is currently fixed at 13, girls as young as 12 can lawfully wed with judicial and parental approval.
A similar uproar followed the beheading of 14-year-old Romina Ashrafi by her father in 2020, allegedly as a result of her running away from home with her boyfriend. Before killing his daughter, the father sought legal advice on the potential severity of his penalty. He was given nine years in prison, one less than the maximum permissible by the law.
Protests in Iran
A young woman who was arrested by morality police in September for reportedly wearing her hijab, or headscarf, “improperly,” has died while in detention, which has spurred anti-government demonstrations in Iran that have shaken the country recently.
In connection with the protests, four people have already been put to death, while another 18 have received death sentences. According to human rights organisations, they were found guilty following blatantly unjust mock trials.