Disposable Victims: Laws and Practices on Gender-related Killings of Women and Girls in the Islamic Republic of Iran

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1. Laws Governing Murder - Gender Discriminatory Standards of Punishment

Iran’s Islamic Penal Code defines murder as a crime punishable by death in accordance with the laws of qisas [retaliation]. This means survivors of a victim of murder have the right to seek capital punishment for the murderer. However, qisas laws embody gender-discrimination as they hold that the life of a woman is worth half of that of a man. Accordingly, in cases where men have murdered women, qisas-based laws work to reduce sentences to a minimum. This is most clearly seen in Article 367 of the new Penal Code, approved as recently as 2012, and Article 209 of the previous Code, both of which condition a male murderer’s execution on payment of 50% of blood money by the family of the slain woman to his family.

This is due to the fact that qisas laws place the value of blood money for a woman as half of that for a man. As determined by the Islamic Republic authorities in 2013, the value of blood money for a man is equivalent to 75 million tumans, which proves impossible for many Iranian families and in reality causes the death sentence to be turned into a few years of imprisonment in cases where men murder women. The same does not apply to women who murder men and victims’ families can demand execution without having to make a single payment.

Under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, owners of blood (survivors of the victim excluding spouse) are entitled to exchange execution with blood money or no money at all. Since honor killings are often committed or coordinated by family members, they often relinquish blood money and the criminal faces a few short years of imprisonment instead......


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