Honour killing in Iran: Sara Shadifar (33) killed by her brother

Sara Shadifar
Born: 1989
Murdered: around 12 March 2022
Residence: Hosseinabad, Mazandaran Province
Origin: Iran
Children: 2
Perpetrator: her brother
On 1 April the lifeless body of 33-year-old Sara Shadifar was found in the rice fields around the village of Hosseinabad in Iran's Mazandaran province.

Police spokesman Safdar Eslami said that she had been killed about 20 days earlier by "one of her close relatives".

According to media reports, the murder was committed by her brother because, after two failed marriages, Sara was planning to emigrate with her two children to Turkey against her family's wishes.

In Iran, more than 400 women are murdered each year for 'honour'. Prison sentences for honour killings are particularly low, at three to five years, due to special Sharia-inspired legislation condoning honour killings.

Sudan and Syria abolished articles of law condoning honour killings in 2021, bringing their laws more in line with those of the international community.

Judges in the European Union consider the killing of a fellow human being for 'honour' to be an aggravating circumstance. Perpetrators of honour killings within the EU receive long prison sentences in order to combat the phenomenon vigorously.

What is an honour killing?

An honour killing is a murder in the name of honour. If a brother murders his sister to restore family honour, it is an honour killing. According to activists, the most common reasons for honour killings are as the victim:

Questions about honour killings

  • refuses to cooperate in an arranged marriage.

  • wants to end the relationship.

  • was the victim of rape or sexual assault.

  • was accused of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

Human rights activists believe that 100,000 honour killings are carried out every year, most of which are not reported to the authorities and some are even deliberately covered up by the authorities themselves, for example because the perpetrators are good friends with local policemen, officials or politicians. Violence against girls and women remains a serious problem in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Serbia and Turkey.

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