May 27 (Reuters) – A father’s brutal killing of his teenage daughter over her relationship with a man has caused widespread anger in Iran, with President Hassan Rouhani urging lawmakers to work quickly on a bill to prevent violence against women.
Fourteen-year-old Romina Ashrafi fled with a 29-year-old man in mid-May from her home in the town of Talesh, approximately 200 miles (321 km) northwest of the capital Tehran, according to the official IRNA news agency.
The couple were subsequently detained and Ashrafi was turned over to the custody of her family after her father appeared forgiving, IRNA reported, citing a local judicial official in Gilan province where Talesh is located.
On May 21, Ashrafi’s father attacked her as she slept and beheaded her with a sickle, a local news site called Gilkhabar reported. He is currently in police custody, IRNA reported.
A handful of Iranian newspapers featured headlines about Ashrafi’s murder on their front page on Wednesday.
“Without a doubt our heavy duty is the judicial follow-up of the issue and harsh punishment for the perpetrator of this crime,” Deputy Justice Minister Mahmoud Abbasi said on Wednesday, according to IRNA.
“But this issue isn’t the end of the road. It’s the beginning of a large and terrible road that requires us to take a step for the preventing of the sacrifice of Rominas in society.”
Massoumeh Ebtekar, the vice president for women and family affairs, called for a bill focused on establishing security for women to be prioritized and expedited during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, according to IRNA.
Rouhani expressed regret over the killing, according to the official presidency website, and called for bills preventing violence to be attended to quickly. Many Iranians took to social media to express their fury at Ashrafi’s murder.
“Curse all of the brain damaged culture and tradition that leads to the death of Rominas,” a Twitter user name Azadehkt posted.
(Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh, Editing by William Maclean)