Thursday July 13, 2017
A man in Tajikistan has been charged with driving his wife to commit suicide amid allegations he pressured her into taking virginity tests and then demanded a second bride after disbelieving the results.
Rajabbi Khurshed, 18, killed herself by drinking a lethal dose of vinegar 40 days after her wedding to 24-year-old Zafar Pirov, who she had never met before the arranged marriage.
Despite her passing a government-required prenuptial exam - including a virginity test - Pirov admits he took his bride for a further two tests, both of which she passed and both of which he did not believe, before casting her out.
Speaking to Radio Free Europe, Khurshed's family - who arranged the coupling - said their daughter told them on her deathbed that she had felt under massive pressure to accept Pirov's demands for a second wife and 'couldn't take it any longer'.
But in his defence, Pirov said: 'My wife gave me a written statement that she allows me to get a second wife because she wasn't a virgin when we got married.'
Kurshed's mother Fazila Mirzoeva is so upset about her daughter's death - who she said is a victim of 'slander and violence' - that she has pleaded to the country's president, Emomali Rahmon, for help.
She said Kurshed, from the village of Chorbogh, had never had a boyfriend and had never had sex with anyone before the marriage.
The teen had dropped out of school to help care for her two disabled brothers, her mother added.
Pirov could be facing eight years in jail if found guilty of driving Kurshed to suicide.
Virginity tests for women before marriages are common in Tajikistan, where casual sex is deemed socially unacceptable.
As of 2015, it is compulsory for both men and women to undergo medical check-ups before a wedding, but for women this often includes a test of 'purity'.
Despite Kurshed passing this test and obtaining a doctor's certificate of her virginity - as well as passing the two other tests - Pirov continued to press his bride and demanded she reveal the 'truth'.
It was just weeks later that he made clear his desire to bring a second wife into the home.
There have been close to 600 court cases concerning virginity disputes in Tajikistan since 2014.