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Press briefing notes on Iran execution

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Location: Geneva
Date: 28 October 2014

Iran execution

We are shocked and saddened by the execution on 25 October of Ms. Reyhaneh Jabbari, who was sentenced to death for the alleged murder of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry. The execution of Ms Jabbari was carried out on Saturday despite repeated calls on the authorities by various United Nations human rights mechanisms not to execute her.

Serious concerns were raised about due process in connection with Ms. Jabbari’s case -- in particular the allegation that her conviction was based on confessions made under duress. The court also apparently failed to take all relevant circumstantial evidence into account.

On 7 July 2007, Ms. Jabbari reportedly stabbed Mr. Sarbandi in the shoulder after he offered to hire her to redesign his office and then took her to a residence, where, according to her, he attempted to sexually assault her. Ms. Jabbari maintained that her actions were taken in self-defence, in order to prevent a serious assault on her person.

The Iranian authorities apparently did make attempts to prevent the execution, which was stayed at least twice, in April and September, in order to enable the two families to reach a settlement. However, it is the Government’s responsibility to prevent execution, especially when there is so much uncertainty about the events surrounding the killing, and concerns over due process.

We are very concerned about the increased use of the death penalty in Iran, as highlighted in the report of the Special Rapporteur on Iran which is being presented to the General Assembly later today. Iran is scheduled to appear before the Human Rights Council under the Universal Periodic Review this Friday (31 October), and we call on the Iranian authorities to make an explicit commitment to immediately institute a moratorium on the death penalty, particularly in light of the high number of executions and the continuing serious concerns about fair trial and due process.


For more information or media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org) or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org)

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