Top Iran body denies negligence in teenage girl’s killing

Top Iran body denies negligence in teenage girl’s killing
According to Iranian media, Romina Ashrafi was killed in her sleep on May 21 by her father, who decapitated her in the family home in Talesh in northern Gilan province. (Screenshot)
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Updated 30 May 2020

Top Iran body denies negligence in teenage girl’s killing

Top Iran body denies negligence in teenage girl’s killing
  • Last week’s apparent “honor” killing of Romina Ashrafi, 14, sparked outrage across Iran, with media denouncing “institutionalized violence” in the “patriarchal” Islamic republic
  • According to Iranian media, Romina Ashrafi was killed in her sleep on May 21 by her father, who decapitated her in the family home in Talesh in northern Gilan province

TEHRAN: Iran’s Guardian Council denied Saturday that the killing of a teenage girl by her father was the result of “negligence” due to a delay in its approval of a new child protection law.
Last week’s apparent “honor” killing of Romina Ashrafi, 14, sparked outrage across Iran, with media denouncing “institutionalized violence” in the “patriarchal” Islamic republic.
After her death, Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar deplored a delay in the validation by the 12-member Guardian Council of a bill on the protection of children and teenagers.
Ebtekar said the bill was in the “final phase” of approval by the council and urged the top body, which is tasked with ensuring legislation complies with the constitution and Islamic sharia law, to pass it quickly.
The council has previously called three times for changes to the draft law after it was passed by lawmakers, the reformist Ebtekar newspaper wrote on Wednesday.
The daily said it was concerned that another delay would spell the bill’s demise, particularly since Iran’s new parliament is dominated by conservatives and hard-liners.
“There has been no negligence on the part of the council... concerning the approval of a draft law on the rights of children,” Guardian Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaee said Saturday.
“And I don’t see any link between this bill and the fact that this abominable crime took place,” he told a news conference.
According to Iranian media, Romina Ashrafi was killed in her sleep on May 21 by her father, who decapitated her in the family home in Talesh in northern Gilan province.
The reports said she ran away after her father refused her permission to marry a man 15 years older, but was detained and taken home.
The legal age to marry in Iran is 13 for women.
Kadkhodaee said the council had indicated to parliament that it had some “objections” concerning the text of the bill and that lawmakers could have met in an emergency session to further discuss the draft law.
But he added: “One law alone cannot resolve such problems (apparent ‘honor’ crimes) which have a cultural, social and even economic dimension.”
Iranian media reported that after authorities detained the teenager, she told a judge she feared for her life if she was sent home.
But what most outraged public opinion was that the girl’s father was likely to face a lenient punishment of just three to 10 years in prison, which could be further reduced, according to the Ebtekar newspaper.


Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Updated 03 December 2020

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister
  • The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics: minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s 14-fold population increase between 1882 and 2017 had created a “national problem” that required urgent attention, a government minister has said.

Deputy Minister of Health and Population Tarek Tawfik revealed that over the 135-year period the number of people living in the country had shot up from 6.7 million to 94.8 million.

The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics, he added.

“(The population increase) is a national problem that needs to be solved through the collaboration of efforts between all the ministries, governmental, and non-governmental institutions, and the civil society,” Tawfik said.

He pointed out that the Egyptian National Population Council was currently drafting public policy documentation in collaboration with The American University in Cairo (AUC) aimed at resolving some of the country’s population-related issues.

Plans in the pipeline included awareness campaigns on family sizes, food and water security, and sustainability.

The council’s former rapporteur, Dr. Amr Hassan, said that a family planning project due to be launched early next year, would help to cut the birth rate in Egypt by 1 million.

Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Leslie Reed, AUC President Francis Joseph Ricciardone, and Tawfik recently launched the Strengthening Egypt’s Family Planning Program (SEFPP) youth competition, part of a $31 million initiative previously signed with the USAID to improve population health results.

Al-Mashat said that improving general healthcare, reproductive health, and family planning services were key to achieving economic empowerment for men and women.

She pointed out that the SEFPP youth competition was aimed at paving the way for the implementation of new and effective solutions to the issues and involved the Egyptian government, educational institutions and universities, youth, and civil society organizations represented by the USAID.

The program was designed to tackle the over-population problem through innovative techniques, developing youth ideas on family planning schemes, and raising awareness throughout the country.