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Iran executes Reyhaneh Jabbari despite international opposition

Iran has executed a woman despite an international campaign to halt her hanging. In a trial termed as a flawed and unfair, Reyhaneh Jabbari was convicted of murdering a man who attempted to rape her.

Twenty-six-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari was hanged at dawn, according to IRNA, Tehran's official news agency which quoted the prosecutor's office. A Facebook page dedicated to campaigning for Jabbari posted the message "Rest in Peace," following the execution of the sentence.

@WeAreReyhaneh, a Twitter group campaigning for Jabbari's release tweeted:

Tehran was due to execute Jabbari on September 30, but postponed carrying out the

death penalty

for some days. Reyhaneh Jabbari's mother visited her daughter in prison on Friday, October 24. This is a customary practice which precedes executions in Iran, Amnesty International said, on Friday, again calling on Iran to reverse the sentence and give her a retrial.

Reyhaneh Jabbari, an interior designer by profession, was arrested in 2007 following the stabbing of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi. Jabbari says she acted in self defense and that the victim, a Ministry of Intelligence employee Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, had tried to sexually assault her.

Ahmed Shaheed, the UN's human rights rapporteur in Iran confirmed earlier this year that Sarbandi had hired Jabbari to redesign his office, but took her to an apartment instead and sexually abused her. The victim's family, however, insists that Jabbari had planned the murder; while on trial, she confessed to buying a knife two days before the killing.

Unfair trial

Following her arrest, Jabbari was held in solitary confinement and had no access to her lawyer or her family for two months. She was allegedly tortured during this period, according to a statement by Amnesty International. She was convicted of murder by a criminal court in Tehran in 2009. Her lawyer sought a review of her sentence in the Supreme Court, which upheld her execution in 2014.

The sentence was then passed on to the Office of Implementation of Sentences in Tehran which allowed the family of the victim to request her execution any time. The UN and other international rights groups insisted that Jabbari's confessions were obtained after pressure and threats from Iranian prosecutors and that she had had no chance of a fair trial.

In its statement, Amnesty said that Sarbandi's connections with the Ministry of Intelligence may have been a reason for authorities to avoid a just investigation into the murder. The authorities allegedly told Jabbari that she would be awarded clemency if she agreed to replace her lawyer with someone introduced to her by the authorities.

Efforts to grant Reyhaneh Jabbari a pardon had intensified in the last couple of days. The United States and European Union leaders demanded a repeal of her sentence, to no avail.

The United Nations says that more than

250 people have been executed

in Iran since the beginning of 2014. The country is a signatory to the International Covenant of Civil and Political rights, which ensures a fair trial to people who risk facing a death sentence.

mg/sb (AFP, Reuters)

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