Iran has executed a 26-year-old woman convicted for killing a man who she said 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.
She was hanged at dawn on Saturday, the official 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,” appeared 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 said, a custom that tends to precede executions in Iran.
Jabbari 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 September 30 but was postponed for 10 days.
“The shocking news that Reyhaneh Jabbari has been executed is deeply disappointing in the extreme. This is another bloody stain on Iran’s human rights record,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme.
“Tragically, this case is far from uncommon. Once again Iran has insisted on applying the death penalty despite serious concerns over the fairness of the trial.”
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.
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 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.
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.