UN rights investigator urges Iran to halt execution of sexual assault victim

[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran [official website] Ahmed Shaheed on Monday urged [press release] Iran to immediately halt the execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari, a woman sentenced to death of murdering Mortez Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry [official website, in Persian]. Jabbari, who is scheduled to be executed tomorrow, has maintained that Sarbandi was attempting to sexually assault her and that she killed him in self-defense. Shaheed expressed concerns over the fairness of Jabbari's trial and urged Iranian authorities to review the case and grant a retrial. In particular, he emphasized that a judgment was rendered without considering all of the proper evidence and that her confessions were made under duress, possibly amounting to torture. Shaheed also stated his general view that the imposition of the death penalty goes against international trends and should be abolished.

Irans human rights record has been a constant source of international concern. Last week, experts from the UN Officer of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] voiced concern that political prisoners in Iran were not receiving proper medical treatment. In February, Shaheed expressed concern [JURIST report] over the recent spike in executions in Iran. In January Amnesty International (AI) [official website] released a report [JURIST report] finding that the Iranian government had executed 40 individuals since the beginning of 2014 and carried out 625 executions in 2013. Earlier that month, several international human rights groups urged [JURIST report] the Iranian government to end its state-sanctioned persecution of LGBT individuals.

 

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