Ignoring international pleas and social media campaigns, Iran executed 26-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari for allegedly murdering her rapist.
A temporary stay of the controversial execution happened after social media campaigns and international condemnation called for a halt to the execution last month.
Iran’s Supreme Court charged the interior designer of premeditated murder saying she had plotted to kill Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi in 2007 and had prepared for the occasion by buying a knife two days before the murder.
Business Standard quoted Jabbari’s defense as saying “Sarbandi offered her a drink laced with drugs and tried to rape her after taking her to a rundown building in a remote location, following which she stabbed him with a small pocket knife and fled while he bled to death.”
According to the Telegraph, “Reyhaneh Jabbari was hanged at dawn in Rajaie Shahr prison outside Tehran after spending seven years behind bars.”
The international community including Amnesty International considered Jabbari’s execution as deeply flawed as her version of the incident was never properly investigated.
Following her arrest, Jabbari was reportedly placed in solitary confinement for two months and did not have access to legal aid or contact her family.
Reports point out there has been a surge in executions under President’s Hasan Rouhani’s watch and that he has failed to deliver on his election-campaign promises to improve the human rights situation in Iran.
“Human rights groups believe Iran is second only to China in the number of people it puts to death for crimes ranging from murder and rape to spying and drug-trafficking,” BBC reported.
A petition that sought Jabbari’s release noted, “In Iran men and women, including some minors, face execution everyday for some 131 offenses punishable by death under the fundamentalist Islamic Republic. Some of these crimes include adultery, theft, homosexuality, drug possession and political dissidence. Iran hangs more people per capita than any other country in the world.”
Jabbari’s controversial execution has exposed Iran’s archaic judicial system which relies on arbitrary processes and fails to meet international laws and standards for fair trial.
Undoubtedly, the cruelty and inhumanity of the recurring death penalties in Iran calls for international condemnation and a moratorium on all executions in Iran. Such executions highlight a severe violation of fair trial guarantees under international obligations.
It’s also time for the Islamic Republic of Iran to consider whether such executions would act as a deterrent or increase violence in society compared to the rest of the world looking for options to reduce death sentences as a form of punishment.