Written by Andrea Martin, Media by Jack Wang
An Iranian woman was hanged after pleading for clemency for a crime that she was convicted of doing back in 2007. Reyhaneh Jabbari, 35, was hanged Saturday morning, Oct. 26, in Tehran’s Evin prison after serving five years on death row after being found guilty of killing a man she accused of trying to sexually assault her. Jabbari had admitted to stabbing Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi in the back at the apartment where he was allegedly trying to sexually assault her. However, Jabbari claimed that another man had actually killed Sarbandi who was also in the apartment at the time, but refused to name him. Jabbari’s claims were never fully investigated according to Amnesty International.
Along with Amnesty International, the U.N. and the European Union pleaded for Jabbari’s release, and stated she acted in self-defense, and was pressured into confessing to the crime. In retaliation, Sarbandi’s family stated that Jabbari had pre-meditated thoughts about the murder, and refused to grant her reprieve.
Before her hanging, Jabbari wrote a heartfelt but gut-wrenching message, in which she professed her frustrations and anger with the handling of her case. Written around April, she also references to the pressure that was exerted on her while being interrogated and the abuses she had faced while in prison. The message was translated by Iranian activists into English, and was published onto the website of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
Jabbari says: “The world allowed me to live for 19 years. That ominous night it was I that should have been killed. My body would have been thrown in some corner of the city, and after a few days, the police would have taken you to the coroner’s office to identify my body and there you would also learn that I had been raped as well. The murderer would have never been found since we don’t have their wealth and their power. Then you would have continued your life suffering and ashamed, and a few years later you would have died of this suffering and that would have been that. However, with that cursed blow the story changed. My body was not thrown aside, but into the grave of Evin Prison and its solitary wards, and now the grave-like prison of Shahr-e Ray. But give in to the fate and don’t complain. You know better that death is not the end of life.”
The message continues:
“My kind mother, dear Sholeh, the one more dear to me than my life, I don’t want to rot under the soil. I don’t want my eye or my young heart to turn into dust. Beg so that it is arranged that as soon as I am hanged my heart, kidney, eye, bones and anything that can be transplanted be taken away from my body and given to someone who needs them as a gift. I don’t want the recipient know my name, buy me a bouquet, or even pray for me. I am telling you from the bottom of my heart that I don’t want to have a grave for you to come and mourn there and suffer. I don’t want you to wear black clothing for me. Do your best to forget my difficult days. Give me to the wind to take away.”
According to human rights experts in the U.N., Iran executed 625 people in 2013, including 28 women.