Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Amnesty International

Iran: Further information: Iranian woman at imminent risk of execution

Amnesty International
October 9, 2009
Appeal/Urgent Action

A 35-year old Iranian woman, Akram Mahdavi, may be at imminent risk of execution for the murder of her 74-year-old husband in 2003. She could be put to death as soon as 11 October.

Akram Mahdavi, now aged 35, was married at the age of 13 to a drug addict who was abusive towards her. She divorced himfive years later,but when she was 20 her family forced her to marry a 65-year-old man. His adult children were abusive towards her and she met another man who is said to have persuaded her to kill her husband. She has been in prison since 2003.

Akram Mahdavi was scheduled for execution at least twice in 2008, but it was postponed both times in order to give her family and supporters more time to collect diyeh, or blood money, to pay as compensation to the family of her husband. However, the sum demanded has been too large and her family unable to collect all the money.

The family of Akram Mahdavi’s husband have reported that the authorities told them to come to Evin prison in the Iranian capital, Tehran,on Sunday to witness her execution. It is not clear to Amnesty International whether this is 11 or 18 October. However, Akram Mahdavi’s lawyer has not been informed of the execution, as is required by Iranian law.

Amnesty International has no new information concerning three other women mentioned in the original Urgent Action: Shahrbano Nedam, Tayebeh Hojjati and a woman known only as Zahra.Akram Mahdavi's name was given only as Akram previously.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Persian, Arabic, English, French or your own language:

- calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately halt the execution of Akram Mahdavi, who may be scheduled for execution on 11 or 18 October and to commute her death sentence;

- stating that you recognize that governments have a right and a duty to bring to justice in fair proceedings those suspected of criminal offences, but stating your unconditional opposition to the death penalty, as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and violation of the right to life.


Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani, Office of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave. south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: Via website: http://www.dadiran.ir/tabid/81/Default.aspx 1st starred box: your given name; 2sdstarred box: your family name; 3rd: your email address

Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of Tehran Judiciary

Ali Reza Avaei

Karimkhan Zand Avenue

Sana’i Avenue,

Corner of Ally 17, No 152,

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: [email protected]

Salutation: Dear Mr Avaei

And copies to:

Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran

Mohammad Javad Larijani

Howzeh Riassat-e Ghoveh Ghazaiyeh

Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhuri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: +98 21 3390 4986 (please keep trying)Email: [email protected] or [email protected] (In the subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani)

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the second update of UA: 59/08 (MDE 13/041/2008). Further information:http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/041/2008/en/85400c61-e9e2-11dc-9a27-819d7db3035f/mde130412008eng.pdf and http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/162/2008/en/c40d1b26-aa58-11dd-ac3d-a1d338fc5da1/mde131622008en.pdf




In the Iranian Penal Code murder is punishable by qesas-e nafs, or death. Murder by someone with diminished responsibility may be punishable by the payment of diyeh, a form of compensation. In cases of premeditated murder, the family of the victim has the right to ask for their relative’s killer to be put to death. The family can also choose to forgive the culprit and accept payment of diyeh instead.

Also in the Iranian legal system, there is a distinction between cases where the penalty is "execution" (hokm-e ‘edam) and qesas, although people sentenced to qesas are often reported in the media to have been sentenced to death. There is no such distinction in international law.

In Iranian law, murder is treated as a private dispute between two civil parties – the state’s role is to facilitate the resolution of the dispute through the judicial process. In this sense, the death penalty is regarded as being imposed by the state, whereas qesas is imposed by the family of the victim. As a result, sentences of qesas are not open to pardon or amnesty by the Supreme Leader, whereas most other death sentences can be reversed by the Supreme Leader. This is in contravention of Article 6 (4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party, and under Iran’s international obligations, the Iranian authorities remains fully responsible for respecting and protecting the rights of those under its jurisdiction, irrespective of the role that private parties may play in the administration of justice.

Amnesty International is also campaigning for an end to legislation which discriminates against women in Iran, including in areas such as marriage, including early marriage, divorce and child custody, which Iranian campaigners believe contributes in some circumstances to women committing violent crimes.

Further information on UA: 59/08 Index: MDE 13/104/2009 Issue Date: 9 October 2009.