Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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Amnesty International

Iran: Iranian footballer's wife executed: Shahla Jahed: Further information

Amnesty International
December 3, 2010
Appeal/Urgent Action

FU on UA: 243/10 Index: MDE 13/108/2010

Shahla Jahed, the Iranian footballer’s wife, was executed on 1 December 2010 in Evin Prison. She was sentenced to death for the alleged murder of her husband’s permanent wife.

Khadijeh Jahed, known as “Shahla”, was hanged at dawn in the courtyard of Evin Prison, Tehran. The family of her husband’s permanent wife did not pardon her and, according to a report by the Iranian Students’ News Agency, the victim’s brother kicked away the stool from her feet. In Iran, a convicted murderer has no right to seek pardon or commutation from the state. This is in violation of Article 6(4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party. The family of a murder victim has the right either to insist on execution, or to pardon the killer and receive financial compensation (diyeh).

Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, Shahla Jahed’s lawyer, attended her execution and told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran afterwards: “I just can’t believe it. I’m not feeling well. Shahla just kept crying; she didn’t say anything. I went forward and told her to talk, but she only cried. The victim’s family did not give their consent until the last minute. All the people who were there asked them to forgive her, but unfortunately they didn’t accept. Nasser Mohammad-khani was there, too, and said nothing.”

Shahla Jahed, who had contracted a temporary marriage with Nasser Mohammad-khani, a former striker for the Iranian national football team and former manager of a team in Tehran, was accused of stabbing to death Laleh Saharkhizan, her husband’s permanent wife, on 9 October 2002. Under Iranian law, men and women can marry either permanently or temporarily. In a temporary marriage, men and women can commit to be married for an agreed period of time, on payment of an agreed sum of money to the woman, after which the marriage is null and void. Men can have up to four permanent wives, and any number of temporary wives. Women can only be married to one man at a time.

Shahla Jahed was initially sentenced to death by Branch 1154 of Tehran General Court in June 2004. She had “confessed” to the killing during 11 months of pre-trial detention, but withdrew her “confession” in court, saying, “Everyone knows the conditions under which I confessed,” leading to fears her “confession” may have been coerced, a common occurrence in Iran. Nasser Mohammad-khani, abroad at the time of the murder, was himself initially suspected of complicity in the murder and detained for some months, but was later released after Shahla Jahed “confessed” to the murder. She was also sentenced to three years in prison.

Shahla Jahed’s sentence was upheld by Branch 15 of the Supreme Court. Shahla Jahed’s lawyer requested a review of the execution order and, in November 2005, the then Head of the Judiciary ordered a stay of execution so that the case could be re-examined. The death sentence was upheld in September 2006, but was again overturned in early 2008 and a fresh investigation was ordered. Shahla Jahed was sentenced to death for a second time in February 2009 by Branch 1147 of the General Court. On 13 September 2010, she wrote to the current Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, asking for a final decision in her case. By 6 November 2010 her death sentence had been sent “for implementation”. On 16 November 2010, reports said her execution was set for 1 December 2010. On 30 November 2010 her lawyer said he had received official notice that his client was to be executed the next day.

Shahla Jahed spent over eight years in prison. Amnesty International campaigned for Shahla Jahed’s death sentence to be overturned from 2005 (see Urgent Action UA 283/05 and updates) and UA 243/10 (Index: MDE 13/105/2010), 23 November 2010, http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE13/105/2010/en

Many thanks to all those who sent appeals. No further action is required from the UA network.