A 26-year-old woman in Iran who spent five years on death row was hanged today in Tehran for killing the man she alleges attempted to rape her, despite several pleas for leniency from the activists and organizations around the world.
In 2007, interior designer Reyhaneh Jabbari was arrested for the murder of former Iranian intelligence official and doctor Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi. Sarbandi had offered to hire Jabbari to redesign his office and took her to an apartment where he attempted to rape her—Jabbari stabbed Sarbandi in the neck in self defense. Apparently there was a third person at the scene who actually killed Sarbandi, though the identity has not been revealed.
Sarbandi's family has maintained that the murder was premeditated, arguing that Jabbari had confessed to buying a knife days before Sarbandi's death. But many, including the UN claim that the Jabbari's confession was obtained under duress and in midst of threats from Iranian prosecutors. It was clear the case was not properly investigated and many organizations demanded a retrial.
Jabbari was sentenced to death in 2009, but her execution was delayed twice in midst of global criticism. An online petition on Avaaz.org to save Jabbari obtained 241,490 signatures. But this morning at dawn Iranian authorities carried out the execution, hanging the young woman. Via the Guardian:
After the execution was carried out, the Tehran state prosecutor's office issued a statement that appeared aimed at countering sympathy for Jabbari. It said: "Jabbari had repeatedly confessed to premeditated murder, then tried to divert the case from its course by inventing the rape charge.
"But all her efforts to feign innocence were proven false in various phases of prosecution. Evidence was firm. She had informed a friend through text message of her intention to kill. It was ascertained that she had purchased the murder weapon, a kitchen knife, two days before committing murder."
Meanwhile, according to Human Rights Watch, Jabbari was placed in solitary confinement right after her arrest and was barred from seeing her family. Jabbari's mother told Human Rights Watch that authorities had not informed her or her daughter's lawyer of plans to execute Jabbari, which is required by law in Iran.
Authorities around the world including the UK Foreign Ministry and the US State Department among others, have condemned the execution.
Yet another travesty of human rights and women's rights in Iran.
Image via AP.