Iran hangs woman in defiance of international campaign
TEHRAN, Iran – (UPDATED) Iran executed on October 25, Saturday a 26-year-old woman who had spent five years on death row for the murder of a former intelligence official, defying international pressure to spare her life.
Reyhaneh Jabbari was hanged at dawn, the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) news agency quoted the Tehran prosecutor's office as saying.
A message posted on the homepage of a Facebook campaign that was set up to try to save her, but which now states "Rest in Peace," confirmed the report.
Amnesty International said in a statement issued late Friday that Jabbari, an interior designer, was due to be executed for the 2007 stabbing of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi.
Iranian actors and other prominent figures had appealed for a stay of execution, echoing similar calls in the West.
Iran's judiciary had given several deadlines for Sarbandi's family to spare Jabbari under an Islamic sharia law provision that allows a death sentence for murder to be commuted to a prison sentence with the agreement of the victim's family.
But relatives of Sarbandi, a 47-year-old surgeon who earlier worked for the intelligence ministry, refused to grant clemency, demanding, according to Iranian media, that Jabbari tell "the truth."
A UN human rights monitor said the killing came in self-defence after Sarbandi tried to sexually abuse Jabbari, and that the condemned woman's trial in 2009 had been deeply flawed.
But a medical report, prepared for the judiciary and quoted by IRNA in its Saturday dispatch, said Sarbandi was stabbed in the back and that the killing had been premeditated.
Efforts for a commuted jail sentence had intensified in recent weeks but Sarbandi's family and Jabbari remained at loggerheads over the circumstances of 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 had refused to reveal his identity.
He told two of Iran's reformist daily newspapers, Shargh and Etemad, in April that his family "would not even contemplate mercy until truth is unearthed," about her alleged accomplice.
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 UN and international human rights groups have said that Jabbari's confession was obtained under intense pressure and threats from Iranian prosecutors, and that she should have had a retrial.
Ahmed Shaheed, the UN'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 assaulted her.
However, Sarbandi's family dismissed her account and said Jabbari had confessed to buying a knife two days before the killing. - Rappler.com