An 18-year-old newly-wed from Tajikistan took her life a mere 40 days after her marriage after her husband accused her of not being a virgin.
Rajabbi Khurshed was married off to 24-year-old Zafar Pirov of Chorbogh village in May. The marriage was arranged by their parents after Khurshed passed a prenuptial medical exam, which includes a virginity test.
The test is optional, but sometimes upon the insistence of families, a bride-to-be has to go through it, the Express Tribune reported.
However, in Khurshed's case, problems started soon after her marriage. Her parents have alleged that their daughter told them on her death-bed that she had been under pressure from her husband since the wedding night and "couldn't take it any longer".
Her mother, Fazila Mirzoeva, called her daughter a victim of "slander and violence" and urged President Emomali Rahmon to intervene to help protect Khurshed's reputation.
The family of the teen girl said Pirov had forced his young bride to undergo another virginity test and had demanded that he be allowed to take a second wife.
Khurshed took a fatal dose of vinegar to end her life, authorities said. Pirov has been arrested and charged with driving Khurshed to suicide. If found guilty, he could face up to eight years in prison.
Pirov has defended himself by saying that Khurshed had herself agreed to repeat the so-called "purity" test. She "gave me a written statement that she allows me to get a second wife because she wasn't a virgin when we got married", he added.
Indulging in premarital sex is taboo in Tajikistan, especially for women. The prenuptial examination was instituted in 2015 in the country mainly to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases, but now they are frequently expanded to include virginity tests for women.
Under the country's law, a marriage cannot be registered if the couple fail to undergo tests and provide proper medical certificates.