Reports from Iran are claiming that the state have executed a 26-year-old woman convicted for killing a man whom she claimed had tried to sexually abuse her.
Reyhaneh Jabbari was arrested in 2007 for the murder of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence.
Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted the Tehran prosecutor’s office saying “She was hanged at dawn on Saturday.”
A message posted on the homepage of a Facebook campaign that was set up to try to save her, now states “Rest in Peace,” appearing to confirm the report.
Efforts for clemency had intensified in recent weeks. Jabbari’s mother was allowed to visit her for one hour on Friday. Amnesty International say that this is a custom that tends to precede executions in Iran.
Jabbari, a 17-year old interior designer at the time of the stabbing, was sentenced to death by a criminal court in Tehran in 2009 in what Amnesty International said was a “deeply flawed investigation and trial”.
Her execution was due to be carried out on 30 September but was postponed for 10 days.
Government news agency Tasnim said earlier on Saturday that Jabbari had been executed after her relatives failed to gain consent from the victim’s family for a reprieve.
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.
A UN 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.
Iranian actors and other prominent figures had appealed for a stay of execution, echoing similar calls in the West.
Jabbari apparently admitted to stabbing Sarbandi in the back. She said he had tried to sexually assault her. However, she said that another man who was also in the house at the time killed him. Her claims do not appear to have ever been properly investigated, Amnesty said.
Calls for retrial
The UN 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 UN’s human rights rapporteur on Iran, said in April that Sarbandi had offered to hire the 17 – year old Jabbari to redesign his office and took her to an apartment where he sexually abused her.
Iran’s judicial authorities were reported to have pressured Jabbari to replace her lawyer, Mohammad Ali Jedari Foroughi, for a more inexperienced one, in an apparent attempt to prevent an investigation of her claims, Amnesty reported.