The PJ Tatler

Iran Soon Expected to Hang Woman Who Stabbed Would-Be Rapist

Iran is just hours away from hanging a woman who stabbed a former Intelligence Ministry employee who she says was trying to commit sexual assault.

According to Amnesty International, Reyhaneh Jabbari’s mother was called this morning and told to visit one last time before her daughter’s execution Saturday at dawn.

Jabbari, 26, has been in prison for the past seven years.

Upon reports at the end of September that she would be put to death soon, the State Department issued a statement saying the U.S. government is “deeply troubled” by the sentence.

“Such an execution would mark a severe violation of the fair trial guarantees afforded to Ms. Jabbari under Iranian law and Iran’s international obligations. While we note reports that the execution may have been postponed, serious concerns remain about the integrity of the legal case against Ms. Jabbari, including reports of confessions made under severe duress,” press secretary Jen Psaki said. “We call for the relevant authorities to reexamine the evidence in this case with utmost transparency.”

A summary of the case from the Clarion Project:

Reyhaneh Jabbari was just 19 in 2007, when, speaking on her cellphone in a coffeeshop, she was overheard by Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, an older man who was a physician and, reportedly, a member of the Iranian secret intelligence service.

Sarbandi was in the same coffeshop with a friend.

Jabbari, an interior designer, had been speaking about her work. Jabbari remembers, “Morteza’s friend came closer and got my contact number to ask help to design a private health centre. After a couple of days, the doctor’s friend’s calls started and thereafter Morteza himself called and invited me to visit the flat, which was supposed to be converted to private health centre.”

Jabbari agreed and they set a date to meet about the project. On the given day, the doctor picked Jabbari up in his car, made a stop at a pharmacy (leaving Jabbari to wait in the car) and proceeded to his flat.

Once inside, Jabbari saw two drinks waiting on a table. Sarbandi quickly locked the door, approached Jabbari, putting his hands around her waist and telling her that “she had no way of escaping.” A struggle ensued. The doctor had locked the door from the inside and Jabbari was unable to open it.

Sarbandi make a number of attempts to rape Jabbari, who, in the end, pulled a knife out her purse and stabbed Sarbandi in his right shoulder.

Shortly thereafter, Sarbandi’s friend entered the apartment and Jabbari ran through the open door. Sarbandi, who was bleeding profusely, died from loss of blood. A later analysis of showed that the drink intended for Jabbari contained a sedative.

Human Rights Watch spoke by phone with Jabbari’s mother today, saying she was on her way to the prison to see her daughter.