In Iran, if you participate in the protests against the regime that have been going on since the death of Mahsa Amini, you risk hanging: there are already four young people sentenced to death in the country, after flash trials and confessions extracted by force and under threat.
But if you kill your wife by decapitating her and exhibiting her head as a trophy in the street, the penalty is eight years in prison. This is the sentence for Sajjad Heidarnava, the man who in Ahvaz, in the south-western area of the country, in February 2022 eliminated his wife and left the house laughing with her head in his hand.
The victim, Mona Heidari, was 17 years old: the two had married when she was 12, they had a young son. A video that later surfaced on social networks showing the scene unleashed a wave of grief and indignation in the country.
From there, a campaign by the main human rights organizations began to raise the minimum age for marriage, now set at 13 for girls. The fact that Heidarnava acted together with her brother-in-law, brother of the victim, influenced the sentence.
The woman’s family had “forgiven” the killer and had not asked for a more severe punishment under Islamic law, which takes the name of “qesas”.
The second defendant in the case, brother-in-law Heidar Heidarnava, was sentenced to 45 months in prison for “complicity in voluntary homicide”.
The trial lasted a total of eleven months, unlike the examples of summary justice reserved for protesters who have been agitating the country’s squares for months after the death – last September 16 – of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old killed by the police for violating the code of women’s clothing.
Since then the protests have continued uninterrupted, there have been 19,000 arrests and nearly 500 demonstrators have lost their lives.
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