In the name of honor
Thirteen-year-old Romina’s murder by her father has become a hot topic in social media, and once again the subject of “honor killings” has been circulated in various groups. Shortly after the tragedy, the news of the murder of a sister by her brother was published, according to the Hamshahri newspaper, an 18-year-old girl was set on fire in her father’s house with a man who loved her. 18 years ago, in Sweden, a girl named Fadima, who had been forced into an arranged marriage, was murdered by her father, and with the arrival of immigrants in Sweden, the issue of honor killings has become a problem in society. The number does not end and the names of the victims can be said for days, but the main question is where are the roots of these behaviors? Why and to what extent should human societies witness such domestic violence?
Reactions to Romina’s murder are mostly emotional, and of course, the author does not intend to justify the act, but there are points to note: Suppose Romina’s father agreed to the marriage, wouldn’t we all criticize it today under the name of “child marriage”? On the other hand, how do we, who want the establishment and rule of human rights in Iran, demand the execution of Romina’s father today? Yet, in civilized and developed countries, it is criminalized to establish such relationships before a certain age. “In our society, a 70-year-old man does this because he is rich, but I am judged because I don’t have money,” said Romina’s boyfriend. It’s not very logical, because basically, every person under the age of 18 is a child whether the other party is 18 years old or 118 years old does not make a difference.
These actions are rooted in the religious beliefs of the people, and it is these beliefs that have shaped the country’s domestic laws. In the Iranian legal system, which is rooted in Islamic jurisprudence, in two cases, the killer is exempt from retribution. In the Islamic Penal Code of 1996, Article 630 states that whenever a man sees his wife committing adultery, can murder both the man and the wife and will not be retributed for that, and another case in Article 301 of the Islamic Penal Code of 1392, if the killer is the father and father male ancestors. The Qur’an, which is the main source of Islam, does not mention this, so according to verse 59 of Surah An-Nisa ‘, which states: “O you who believe, obey God and obey His Messenger and those before you, and since you disagreed on something, if you believe in God and the Day of Judgment, refer to God and the Prophet.” we must refer to the tradition of the Prophet of Islam, which is also revealed in jurisprudence. According to jurisprudence, relying on the words of Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, the Prophet of Islam, which says: “A father cannot be retaliated against because of murdering his son” and a girl, according to the consensus of jurists (Foghaha) primarily, has the status of a son and according to Jafar Sadegh, the sixth Shiites’ Imam is quoted as saying, “A father does not retaliate for killing his child,” and the child includes the daughter, so the father and his male ancestors are exempt from retribution for killing the child, no matter how low, but this is a matter for Diyat and Atonement and the public aspect of the crime is not a crime, so what awaits Romina’s father, according to Article 612 of the Islamic Penal Code, if a person has committed premeditated murder but is not retaliated for any reason, the applicant can be sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison.
From an international point of view, Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Every adult man and woman have the right to marry and to have a family without any restrictions on race, nationality or religion. During the entire period of marriage and when it is dissolved, the couple has equal rights in matters related to marriage; Marriage must be performed with the full and free consent of both men and women”. However, according to Article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, anyone under the age of 18 amounts as a child and so, it is subject to the term “child marriage”. From a legal point of view, the root of this act of Romina can be found in the Civil Code and its Article 1041, which states: “With the permission of the guardian, provided that the expediency is determined by the competent court, he does not consider the age limit for marriage” and also the legal license mentioned in Article 1043, which can be applied to the court and gain the marriage permit if the father and father male ancestors oppose it.
But it also has psychological and sociological roots. According to Ms. Vida Tehrani, a psychologist: “Apart from discussing the forced marriage of children under the pretext of tradition, parental addiction and hundreds of other reasons that are always raised about child marriage, as well as the issue of friendship between a girl and a boy due to lack of proper knowledge of the relationship. And the lack of proper education at the community level has always been associated with many problems. In events such as the story of Romina, the child at this age, to meet the need for security, replaces people outside the family who usually feel able to deal with the person in charge “He should be able to support her and make up for her father’s love gap.”
Dr. Jilani, from a sociological point of view, believes that: “One is the lack of a safe home for girls who do not feel safe at home at this age and need shelter and security, and the patriarchal society of Iran allows a guardian to commit such a murder, and in fact, we will see that Romina’s father will be released from prison in the short term, and if we do statistical research that people agree or disagree with, we will see that their answer is in favor of the father under the title of honor. And this attitude is not Islam, but this attitude is classified under the title of honor with the taste of Islam forming a sharp knife that cuts the throats of Rominas.”
In addition to the aforementioned matters, the publication of the image of Romina, who was given a hijab through Photoshop in the governmental newspaper Jam-E-Jam, suggests that in the eyes of the usurping Islamic regime in Iran, wearing the hijab is more important than the right to life.
However, what happened was just a brief look at this tragic event, and the way to prevent it from happening again is to reform Iran’s current laws, which have not been updated with the requirements of the time, and the only way to do that is to cross the Islamic Republic. In order to pass secular laws, not affected with any ideological or religious views; however, a shorter-term approach is for each of us to break away from the prevailing thoughts and culture of society and, in the words of Sohrab:
“Eyes must be washed
It has to be seen differently.”
Long live freedom
Persistent Iran and Iranians
Houshmand Rahimi (attorney-at-law and Lawyer) – May 29, 2020