Pregnant Teen Reportedly Burned to Death for Dad's Misdeed

'Honor killing' said to be revenge after girl's father eloped with off-limits bride
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2016 7:27 AM CDT
Pregnant Teen Reportedly Burned to Death for Dad's Misdeed
The body of pregnant Zahra, 14, who died after she was set on fire in her husband's home, in a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday.   (AP Photos/Massoud Hossaini)

After his young daughter had been married off, 45-year-old Mohammad Azam struck a deal with his new in-laws: He'd marry the cousin of his daughter's husband. But the marriage deal went sour and Azam's pregnant 14-year-old daughter, Zarah, ended up paying the price, tortured and burned to death by her own in-laws in a so-called "honor killing," CBS News and the AP report. Zarah died Saturday, and Azam has since made his way to Kabul to seek justice for his daughter because he's not hopeful he'll find it in Ghor province, where her immolation took place, the Sun notes. "The culprits should be brought to justice, my daughter's blood must not go in vain," he tells the AP.

Azam had reportedly been promised the cousin's hand in marriage as payment for construction work he had done. Zarah's in-laws then pulled back on the deal when another man offered more money for the cousin, but Azam eloped with her anyway, leading the in-laws to seek revenge. The AP notes that the practice of "baad"—giving women away to pay off debts—is against the law; Azam himself could face legal trouble for giving his daughter away. Honor killings are likewise illegal, though a 2014 New York Times article noted that tribal law often trumps civil law, with fathers lording "absolute power" over their daughters until they're married off—with or without their permission, at any age, and often to settle some sort of debt. (A Pakistani fashion model was also a victim of an "honor killing," at the hands of her own brother.)

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