He beheaded his wife in Iran. Her punishment of him? Eight years and two months in prison

(CNN) — An Iranian man who beheaded his 17-year-old wife in February 2022 was sentenced to eight years and two months in prison on Wednesday, according to Iran’s semi-official Khabar Online website, sparking criticism over the leniency of the prison sentence.

Following the girl’s murder, a video began circulating online of her husband, Sajjad Heydari, walking in the provincial capital of Ahvaz while smiling and carrying his severed head, the official Islamic Republic of Iran news agency (IRNA) reported. ).

Local authorities have confirmed that the widely shared footage allegedly showing Heydari is from the same incident, a source with knowledge of the statements told CNN. The video, seen by CNN, showed Heydari holding a knife in one hand and the girl’s head in the other.

He beheaded his wife in Iran.  Her punishment of him?  Eight years and two months in prison

The victim had fled to Turkey before her father convinced her to return to Iran. (Image provided by Masih Alinejad)

The short sentence has been condemned by critics, with some recalling the case of filmmaker Mozghan Ilanlo, who received a 10-year prison sentence for removing her veil.

Responding to a question about the sentence, Iran’s Judiciary spokesman Massoud Setayesh said the husband was “convicted by administration of manslaughter, intentional assault and disorderly conduct. A second defendant”, who is the brother-in-law of the victim, “has been convicted of collaborating in an intentional homicide.”

The judicial spokesman said that the death sentence was not handed down because the victim’s family forgave the defendant. They “announced their pardon and by qualifying this part of the accusation, regarding the private aspect of this case, it has resulted in the issuance of the suspension order, but the public aspect of the crime remains,” he said.

“Consequently, regarding the public aspect of the crime, the defendant in the first row, with respect to the administration of intentional homicide, has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison and regarding the public aspect of the crime, to eight months of imprisonment. prison,” added the judicial spokesman.

The spokesperson also indicated that “the second-rank defendant (the victim’s brother-in-law) was also sentenced to 45 months in prison for collaborating in an intentional homicide.”

When the story first broke, the IRNA news agency referred to the alleged killing as an “honor killing.”

The victim had fled to Turkey four months before her father convinced her to return to Iran, according to an interview with the girl’s mother-in-law, published in Fars in 2022.

The girl was 12 years old at the time of her marriage to Heydari, according to IRNA.

In an interview with the girl’s father, published in Fars in 2022, he is quoted as saying that he had obtained a legal certificate allowing his daughter to marry off. The minimum age for marriage in Iran is 13 for girls and 15 for boys. CNN has not been able to confirm the age of her husband.

The crime comes years after another high-profile “honour killing”, in which a 14-year-old girl was allegedly killed by her father with a sickle after she ran away from her family home in Talesh county. , in northern Iran, with a 29-year-old man.

For years, Iranian women’s rights activists have campaigned to strengthen laws against domestic violence in the country.

This comes after the country has been rocked by nationwide protests over the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a young woman accused of violating the country’s compulsory hijab (hair covering) laws. Iran has cracked down by executing protesters, accused of killing security forces, in what critics say were hasty mock trials.

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