Tehran, Oct. 16 (Reuters): Iranian women began talks with Islamic clerics yesterday to demand that “blood money” compensation for a murdered woman should equal that of a man.
Under Iran’s strict Shia interpretation of Islam, compensation for the loss of a woman’s life is half of that paid for a murdered man. “We have sent letters to high-ranking clerics... to have their opinions on equal blood money for a Muslim man and a Muslim woman,” said woman parliamentarian Akram Mosavarimanesh.
A recent proposal to make compensation for families of murdered non-Muslims equal to that offered to Muslims has given the “blood money” debate fresh impetus, said the group of women parliamentarians campaigning for the change.
Iran’s penal code has kept an old Islamic definition of blood money as one of the following: 100 camels, 200 cows, 1,000 sheep, 200 silk dresses, 1,000 gold coins, or 10,000 silver coins. But authorities have set cash equivalents to simplify matters.
Iran’s judiciary has set the amount that a killer can pay to his victim’s family to avoid execution at a flat 150 million rials ($18,750) for a murdered man, and half of that for a woman.
Changing the legislation is a sensitive issue in Iran where all laws must be in accordance with Islamic principles.
“Some preparations have been made to get it approved, but it is clearly stipulated in the Koran that women get half blood money,” a high-ranking cleric told Reuters.
Hardline clerics’ objections also stem from men’s traditional role as breadwinners, meaning that the death of a man inflicts a greater financial burden on the family.