Iranian woman hanged over murder despite international appeals for release
An Iranian woman was executed today in a Tehran prison for killing a man she claimed had tried to sexually abuse her.
Reyhaneh Jabbari, a 26-year-old interior designer, was arrested in 2007 for the murder of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, and was sentenced to death in 2009 by a criminal court in Tehran.
In her statement Jabbari mentioned that Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee at Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence, had asked to consult her about possible refurbishments to his office, and invited her to meet him privately.
She claimed that during their meeting, he attempted to rape her and as an act of self-defence she stabbed him once in the back. Furthermore, Jabbari also revealed that another man was present at the time of the killing. However, according to Jarlal sarbandi, the victim’s eldest son, Jabbari confirmed a man was present at the incident but she had refused to reveal his identity.
Following her arrest, Jabbari was reportedly denied access to a Lawyer and kept in solitary confinement for two months. During the trial, the prosecution confirmed that Jabarri had purchased the knife used to stab Abdolali Sarbandi only two days before their meeting, and argued that the killing was premeditated.
In April this year, Ahmed Shaheed, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran for the United Nations expressed concerns regarding the conditions under which Jabarri’s confession was obtained, as well as the thoroughness of the investigation.
Shaheed said: “Ms. Jabbari’s case raises serious due process concerns, particularly with regard to her interrogation and the reluctance of the court to take into account all relevant circumstantial evidence into its judgment.”
He referred specifically to traces of tranquilizers found in a drink offered to Jabbari, evidence that does not appear to have been fully recognised by the courts.
Several social media initiatives were started to try and prevent her execution, helping to bring her case to a large international audience. As a result, over 240,000 people signed an online petition calling for her release.
A stay of execution was granted on 30th September, arguably as a consequence of the attention brought to her case by these widely publicised campaigns, although an official reason for the postponement was not given at the time.
Jabarri’s mother was contacted on Friday and asked to visit her daughter for the last time before the execution, which took place at dawn today.
According to the UN, Iran has executed about 250 people so far in this year alone.