Accessibility links

Breaking News

Tajik Man Arrested After Wife Commits Suicide Over Virginity Dispute

Rajabbi Khurshed (right) took a fatal dose of vinegar 40 days after her wedding to Zafar Pirov.

Tajik authorities have arrested a man after his new wife committed suicide last month amid the couple's arguments over her virginity.

Court officials in Tajikistan's southern Vose district said on July 31 that Zafar Pirov, 24, has been charged with driving his wife to suicide.

Pirov was placed in pretrial detention late last week, officials said. If found guilty, he could face up to eight years in prison.

Pirov's wife, 18-year-old Rajabbi Khurshed, took her own life 40 days into her arranged marriage after her husband accused her of not being a virgin on their wedding night. Premarital sex is a taboo in Tajikistan's conservative society.

Khurshed had passed government-required prenuptial medical exams, including a virginity test. Pirov, however, forced her to undergo two further tests and rejected the doctors' conclusion that Khurshed's virginity was intact on her wedding night.

According to Khurshed's family, she said on her deathbed that she was under enormous pressure from her husband and "couldn’t take it any longer."

Khurshed took a fatal dose of vinegar on June 22 and died in hospital hours later, the family and doctors say.

Khurshed's family says she became a victim of "slander and violence."

Pirov defended himself in an interview with RFE/RL's Tajik Service earlier this month, insisting that his new wife was not a virgin on their wedding night, no matter what her documents said.