After the gruesome killing, video footage was posted online of Sajjad Heidarnava walking the streets of Ahvaz while smiling and carrying his wife’s severed head.
An Iranian man has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison for decapitating his wife and displaying her head in public in a so-called "honor killing."
Mona Heidari, 17, was killed last year in February by her husband, Sajjad Heidarnava, and his brother Heydar in Ahvaz, the capital of the southwestern Khuzestan province. After the gruesome killing, video footage was posted online of the killer walking in the provincial capital, Ahvaz, while smiling and carrying his wife’s severed head. Heidarnava was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for murder and eight months for intentional assault, judiciary spokesman Massud Setayeshi told the media on January 18. Heidari's family had forgiven the murderer and declined to demand qesas -- Iran's Islamic law of retribution. "The accused has no right to protest against the verdict and the decision is final," the spokesman said. Heidarnava's brother, Heidar, was sentenced to 45 months in prison for complicity in intentional homicide, Setayeshi said. Heidari was married at the age of 12 and was the mother of a 3-year-old boy when she was murdered, according to Iranian media reports. She had fled to Turkey several months before being persuaded to return to Iran by her father, according to the girl’s mother-in-law. Human rights activists called for changes to the law to protect of women against domestic violence after Heidari's murder and to increase the minimum age of marriage for girls, which is currently 13. In another notorious case, an Iranian man was sentenced to nine years in prison for beheading his 14-year-old daughter with an axe in a so-called “honor” killing that prompted widespread outrage in the country in August 2020. In Iran, “honor” killings are only punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Otherwise, murder is punishable by a life sentence or the death penalty. Many in Iran have blamed the Islamic legal system as well as the country's patriarchal culture and traditions for fostering an environment that allows for "honor" killings. Iran is currently enveloped in a wave of unrest over the death of a young woman while in police custody for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly. Women and girls have spearheaded the anti-government demonstrations demanding more rights and freedoms.