Iran must halt execution of alleged sexual assault survivor
Iranian authorities have today confirmed that a woman convicted of killing a man whom she said tried to sexually abuse her will be hanged tomorrow morning at a prison west of Tehran, Amnesty International said.
Reyhaneh Jabbari was sentenced to death in 2009 after a deeply flawed investigation and trial which failed to examine all of the evidence.
“This abhorrent execution must not be allowed to take place, particularly when there are serious doubts about the circumstances of the killing,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.
“Instead of continuing to execute people, authorities in Iran should reform their judicial system, which dangerously relies on processes which fail to meet international law and standards for fair trial.”
“Under international human rights standards people charged with crimes punishable by death are entitled to the strictest observance of all fair trial guarantees.”
Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, was arrested in 2007 for the murder of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. She was placed in solitary confinement for two months, where she did not have access to a lawyer or her family. Reyhaneh Jabbari was sentenced to death under qesas (“retribution-in-kind”) by a criminal court in Tehran in 2009.
Amnesty International understands that although Reyhaneh Jabbari admitted to stabbing the man once from the back, she said another man who was also in the house killed Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi. Her claim is believed to have never been properly investigated.
“Authorities in Iran must immediately halt Reyhaneh Jabbari’s execution. It is unacceptable that she was not provided with a lawyer during questioning and the failure to investigate the presence of another man in the house leaves too many questions unanswered,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
Reyhaneh Jabbari’s mother said today in a Facebook post that authorities in Evin prison told her she would have to go to the facility to “collect the body” tomorrow.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution, because the death penalty violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
On 14 September 2014, the judicial authorities reportedly pressured Reyhaneh Jabbari to remove her lawyer Mohammad Ali Jedari Foroughi from her case and retain an inexperienced lawyer in his place. This was done in an apparent bid to disrupt the lawyer’s efforts to guarantee an investigation into the presence of another man in the house.
Amnesty International understands that before being removed from her case, Mohammad Ali Jedari Foroughi’s repeated requests to meet with his client, and access her court file had been denied.
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