Iran defers execution of woman who killed alleged rapist in self-defense

The Iranian government has postponed the hanging of a woman who killed her alleged rapist in an apparent self-defense in 2007.

Rayhaneh Jabbari, 26, was scheduled to face the gallows on Tuesday for public execution. She was accused and found guilty by a Tehran court of killing Morteza Abdolali Sarbandani who allegedly tried to rape her.

Her conviction was upheld by the Iran Supreme Court and was sentenced to death by hanging last April. Her execution was deferred amid international outcry and protest from Jabbari’s family and supporters.

The death sentence was supposed to be carried out on September 30 but the Iran government, for yet undisclosed reasons, postponed her execution for the second time.

Jabbari’s story draws heavy attention from international human rights agency and media, sparking public outrage towards the supposed “injustice” with which her trial was conducted. A petition to set her free was also launched drawing nearly 190,000 signatories.

Jabbari, an interior designer, killed her assailant, Sarbandani, after the latter allegedly lured her into an apartment for a designing job where she claimed she was sexually assaulted. She stabbed Sarbandani, an employee of Iran Intelligence Ministry, in an apparent self-defense with a pocket knife and left him bled to death.

Subsequent trials and confessions, which many believed to have been extracted under duress and against her will, led to her conviction of murdering her alleged rapist.

One day before her scheduled execution, Jabbari’s mother, Shole Pakravan, posted on Facebook saying authorities have asked her to come to Ervin prison to collect her daughter’s body on Tuesday.

In what was supposed to be the last conversation between Pakravan and her daughter, Jabbari has bid her mother goodbye telling her she was being transferred in a vehicle for the execution.

“I am currently handcuffed and there is a car waiting outside to take me for the execution of the sentence,” the mother recalled in tears her daughter telling her.

“Goodbye, dear Mum. All of my pains will finish early tomorrow morning. I’m sorry I cannot lessen your pain. Be patient,” Pakravan recounted her last conversation with Jabbari.  “We believe in life after death. I’ll see you in the next world and I will never leave you again because being separated from you is the most difficult thing to do in the world.”

Early the next day, however, Pakravan learned Jabbari’s public execution had been postponed, apparently after she and other supporters went to the prison to protest the sentence. (Click here to read more)

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