The United States has condemned Iran for executing a woman convicted of killing a man to defend herself from an alleged sexual assault.
The 26-year-old woman, Reyhaneh Jabbari, was hanged Saturday morning. The death penalty went ahead after the family of her alleged assailant, a former Iranian intelligence agent, refused to pardon her or accept financial compensation.
At the U.S. State Department, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said there were “serious concerns with the fairness” of the case, including reports that confessions were “made under severe duress.”
Psaki said the United States condemns Iran for killing Jabbari “despite pleas from Iranian human-rights activists and an international outcry.”
Jabbari said Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi was trying to rape her. She said she acted in self-defense when she stabbed him, but prosecutors said the attack was premeditated, and noted the dead man had been stabbed in the back.
The stabbing occurred in 2007. Jabbari was sentenced to death in 2009 under the Islamic principle of “an eye for an eye.”
During the trial, Iran’s official IRNA news agency said, there was testimony that Jabbari told a friend in a text message that she intended to kill Sarbandi, as well as alleged evidence that she purchased the knife involved only two days before putting it to use.
In a statement before the woman was hanged, Amnesty International said the “deeply flawed” prosecution did not appear “to have ever properly investigated” Jabbari’s statement that another man present at the time of the stabbing was Sarbandi’s killer.
The U.S. State Department spokeswoman said the United States joins “with those who call on Iran to respect the fair-trial guarantees afforded to its people under Iran’s own laws and its international obligations.”