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Thursday, January 19, 2023 – A man who beheaded his 17-year-old wife and smiled while carrying her head in public, has been sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran, the Iranian judiciary says.

There was global outrage after images emerged of Sajjad Heydari carrying his young wife, Mona’s severed head in Ahvaz after the so-called “honour killing” in 2022.

Mona had been married to her husband since the age of 12 and had given birth to their son when she was only 14.

Local media reported that she had fled to Turkey after allegedly being subjected to domestic violence by her husband, who had refused her requests for a divorce.

She had returned to Iran a few days before her murder last February because she had reportedly received assurances from her family that she would be safe.

Sajjad Heydari then beheaded and paraded her severed head in the streets of the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz in an attempt to prove that he’s an honorable man.

Footage of the scene was posted online showing him smiling.

Mona Heydari’s killing, which was reported on February 5, is the latest publicized case of an “honor killing” in which mostly women are killed by their male relatives on the grounds they dishonored their family for any number of alleged moral failings — including eloping, committing adultery, requesting a divorce, or even unfounded accusations of tainting the family’s reputation

A judge on Wednesday, January 18 sentenced the husband to just 8 years in prison with a judiciary spokesman saying the leniency of the sentence was due to Mona’s parents having “pardoned” him for the murder rather than seeking retribution.

Judiciary spokesman Massoud Setayeshi told reporters on Wednesday that Sajjad Heydari had been sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison for murder and an additional eight months for assault.

He explained that the verdict was in line with Iranian law, under which intentional murder is punishable by death unless the family of the victim forgives the killer.

Her father previously said that he had not given his consent for the killing.

Mona’s brother-in-law was given a 45-month sentence for complicity in the murder, he said.

The gruesome killing prompted fresh demands in Iran for a law aimed at preventing domestic violence and protecting victims.

There were also calls for the minimum age of marriage for children to be raised. It is currently set at 13 for girls, although girls even younger than that can legally marry with judicial and parental consent.


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