Iran hangs woman despite world pressure

Reyhaneh Jabbari defends herself during the first hearing of her trial in 2008.

Reyhaneh Jabbari defends herself during the first hearing of her trial in 2008.

Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, convicted of murdering a former intelligence official she claimed raped her, was executed on Saturday in defiance to international pressure to spare her life, Agence France-Presse reported.

Jabbari, who was on death row for five years, was executed at dawn, the Tehran prosecutor’s office said in a statement carried by IRNA’s Farsi website.

A Facebook page started by her mother had a cover photo reading: “Rest in Peace,” confirming her death.

Amnesty International had released a stern call to Iranian authorities on Friday to halt the planned execution of Jabbari.

“The Iranian authorities must stop the execution of a woman due to be hanged tomorrow morning after being convicted for the killing of a man whom she said tried to sexually abuse her,” the statement said.

Amnesty International said in the statement that Jabbari, an interior designer, was due to be executed for the 2007 stabbing of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi.

A U.N. human rights monitor had said the killing of Sarbandi was an act of self-defence after he tried to sexually assault Jabbari, and that her trial in 2009 had been deeply flawed, according to Agence France-Presse said.

Jabbari reportedly admitted to stabbing Sarbandi, but maintained that another man present in the house at the time killed him, a claim Amnesty International said “[does] not appear to have ever been properly investigated.”

Iranian public figures, actors and other prominent personalities had appealed for a stay of execution, echoing similar calls in the Western countries.

Efforts to push for clemency had intensified in recent weeks. Jabbari’s mother was allowed to visit her for one hour on Friday, Amnesty said, a custom that tends to precede executions in Iran.

According to the United Nations, more than 250 people have been executed in Iran since the beginning of 2014.

The U.N. and international rights groups had said Jabbari’s confession was obtained under intense pressure and threats from Iranian prosecutors, and she should have had a retrial.

Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N.’s human rights rapporteur on Iran, said in April that Sarbandi had offered to hire Jabbari to redesign his office and took her to an apartment where he sexually abused her.

However, Sarbandi’s family insists that the murder was premeditated and that Jabbari had confessed to buying a knife two days before the killing.

According to Jalal Sarbandi, the victim’s eldest son, Jabbari testified that a man was present in the apartment where his father was killed “but she refuses to reveal his identity”.

He told Shargh and Etemad, two of Iran’s reformist daily newspapers, in April that his family “would not even contemplate mercy until truth is unearthed.”

“Only when her true intentions are exposed and she tells the truth about her accomplice and what really went down will we be prepared to grant mercy,” he said at the time.

 
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