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Iran man who decapitated teen wife and paraded her head in public gets 8-year prison sentence

Tehran — An Iranian man has been jailed for more than eight years after decapitating his wife and displaying her head in public in a case that shocked the country, the judiciary said Wednesday. Mona Heidari, 17, was killed in February 2022 by her husband and brother-in-law in Ahvaz, the capital of the southwestern province of Khuzestan.

Video that emerged later of her smiling husband parading her decapitated head in the street sparked an outpouring of grief and outrage in the Islamic republic.

Sajjad Heidarnava was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for murder and eight months for assault, judiciary spokesman Massoud Setayeshi told reporters.

A file photo shows two Iranian women walking down a street in Shiraz, Iran, covered from head to toe in traditional chador garments as required under the Islamic republic's strict interpretation of Islamic law. iStock/Getty

The family of Heidari had pardoned the killer rather than demanding 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.

"The second defendant in the case, Heidar Heidarnava, was sentenced to 45 months in prison for complicity in intentional homicide," he added.

At the time of the murder, media outlets in Iran said Heidari had been married at the age of 12 and was the mother of a three-year-old son when she was killed.

After the crime, human rights defenders called for changes to the law to protect women against domestic violence and to increase the minimum age of marriage for girls, currently set at 13.

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Iran has been rocked by protests that erupted after the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, after her arrest for an alleged breach of the country's dress code for women.

At least four people have been executed for their alleged involvement in those protests, which Iran's government calls "riots." Almost 20 more are facing possible death sentences.

According to data gathered by the Death Penalty Information Center organization, Iran was second only to China in 2021 for using state-sanctioned execution as a punishment for crimes. Iran executed more than 314 people that year, according to the center.

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