Victims like Reyhaneh Jabbari deserve protection, not punishment

ReyhanehBy LSS member Yassi Molazadeh

My school classmate Reyhaneh Jabbari, a 27 year old female, is at risk of imminent execution (by hanging) in Iran in less than 24 hours for acting in self-defence against an attempted rape by Morteza Abdolahi Sarbandi, a former member of the Iranian intelligence service.

Please share this post and protest with the hashtag #SaveReyhanehJabbari and contact me if you can offer any assistance. The international uproar will stop the Iranian authorities from taking Reyhaneh to the gallows. I have been in direct contact with her mother and it has been confirmed that she will be transferred tonight for execution to take place in the early hours of the morning of Saturday 25 October 2014.

I remember a photograph from school where we were singing together, on stage. I had written the song and organised it. The song was titled “Goodbye”. Goodbye indeed…we never found each other again after I moved to England. Recently I found the photograph and began searching on Facebook for the names on the back of it. “Reyhaneh Jabbari” only led me to group links pleading “Save Reyhaneh”. I didn’t believe it was the same Reyhaneh. It crushed me.

For the past seven years Reyhaneh has been waiting to be hanged in a high security prison in Iran whilst I have enjoyed absolute freedom and achieved my dreams. It hurts.

Reyhaneh, an interior designer, was in a coffee shop speaking on the phone about her work, a conversation which was coincidentally overheard by Morteza, who approached her for professional advice about renovating his office. They then set a date to meet at his office in order to see and discuss Morteza’s renovation project.

On the day of the meeting, Morteza picked up Reyhaneh in his car. On the way to his office, Morteza stopped at a pharmacy, purchased an item which is stated to be a condom (while Reyhaneh waited in the car), got into the car again and drove to his office. After arriving at their destination Reyhaneh realized that the place did not look like a work place at it was just a rundown house. Inside the house, Reyhaneh saw two drinks on the table. Morteza went inside and quickly locked the door from the inside, put his arms around Reyhaneh’s waist and told her that she had “no way of escaping”. A struggle soon ensued. Reyhaneh, trying to defend herself, stabbed Morteza in the shoulder and escaped. Morteza died from bleeding.

Lab analysis showed the drinks Morteza intended to serve to Reyhaneh contained sedatives. Regardless, Reyhaneh was arrested. She was told by the authorities that the murder had been set up [by them] and was “politically motivated”.  Nevertheless, Reyhaneh was tortured until she confessed to the murder, and afterwards she was given the death penalty which was upheld by the Supreme Court. As a result she is to be executed at any moment.

Under Islamic Law (Sharia law), only the family of the deceased victim has the power to stop the execution of the accused by forgiving them. Sadly, this was not the conclusion of all the meetings and negotiations, attended by prominent Iranian artists, athletes, writers and intellectuals.

There are still many questions to be answered such as: is it a fact that a large, strong man died of only one stab wound to his shoulder from a blow delivered by Reyhaneh, who fled the scene immediately? What needs to be asked from the judges is: who and what really killed Mr. Sarbandi and what was the evidence at the scene of the crime? What happened to the CD that had all the collected evidence in the case and why did the Islamic Republic of Iran’s prosecutor, Shamloo, destroy it? Is Reyhaneh a scapegoat for a politically motivated murder by the regime? After all, did the victim not introduce himself as working for the Intelligence Service as well as being a physician? Is it possible that the regime needs to kill Reyhaneh to cover up a political murder that it committed?

Her mother, Shole Pakravan, has posted stating “Please let everyone know. Reyhaneh just rang. She said the pressure is mounting up. They had woken her up. Her friends did not let them take her away. I told her resist going as much as you can and if you end up being taken, where ever you are, we will be with you! Whenever you can, call me. She said goodbye again. My legs are shaking again” .

Shole sent another post: “They just called from the prison head office. They told us to an address for the final visit. They will be transferring her tonight. Damn lies and my trust. As soon as I have more news I will update you via my friend and my brother. I’m off to see my ill and feverish daughter”.

Please save my childhood friend.

For further information and updates please see:

Thank you.

Yassi Molazadeh

Update: unfortunately Reyhaneh was executed by the Islamic regime on Saturday 25 October 2014

Views expressed are not necessarily those of the LSS

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