(Al Arabiya News, AFP)- The United States condemned Iran’s execution of a woman convicted of murdering a man who attempted to rape her, a U.S. State Department statement said.
“We condemn this morning’s execution in Iran of Reyhaneh Jabbari, an Iranian woman convicted of killing a man she said she stabbed in self-defense during a sexual assault,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
“There were serious concerns with the fairness of the trial and the circumstances surrounding this case,” the statement said.
Among those concerns were “reports of confessions made under severe duress.”
Jabbari, 26, who was on death row for five years, was executed at dawn, the Tehran prosecutor’s office said in a statement carried by IRNA’s Farsi website.
The United Nations and international human rights groups have said her confession was obtained under intense pressure and threats from Iranian prosecutors, and that she should have had a retrial.
“Iranian authorities proceeded with this execution despite pleas from Iranian human rights activists and an international outcry over this case,” Psaki said.
“We join our voice 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.”
The interior designer was convicted for the 2007 stabbing of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi.
A U.N. human rights monitor said the killing came in self-defense after Sarbandi tried to sexually abuse Jabbari, and that the condemned woman’s trial in 2009 had been deeply flawed.
But a medical report, prepared for the judiciary and quoted by IRNA in its Saturday dispatch, said Sarbandi was stabbed in the back and that the killing had been premeditated, Agence France-Presse reported.
Jabbari reportedly admitted to stabbing Sarbandi, but maintained that another man present in the house at the time killed him, a claim Amnesty International said “[does] not appear to have ever been properly investigated.”
Iranian public figures, actors and other prominent personalities had appealed for a stay of execution, echoing similar calls in the Western countries.
Efforts to push for clemency had intensified in recent weeks. Jabbari’s mother was allowed to visit her for one hour on Friday, Amnesty said, a custom that tends to precede executions in Iran.
The U.N. estimates more than 250 people have been executed in Iran since the beginning of 2014.