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UN rights expert 'shocked' over Iran woman's execution

[JURIST] A UN human rights expert said Monday that he was "shocked" by Iran's execution of a woman convicted of murdering a man whom she accused of raping her. Reyhaneh Jabbari was executed in Tehran's Evin prison on Saturday morning despite international opposition from many organizations and rights groups, including UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran Ahmed Shaheed [official website], who in April urged [JURIST report] Iran to immediately halt the execution of Jabbari. Shaheed had expressed concerns [UN News Centre report] over the fairness of Jabbari's trial and urged Iranian authorities to review the case and grant a retrial. In particular, he emphasized that a judgment was rendered without considering all of the proper evidence and that her confessions were made under duress, possibly amounting to torture. Justice Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi [official website, in Persian] stated [Reuters report] earlier this month that a "good ending" was in sight, but Jabbari could not persuade the victim's family to secure a reprieve within the 10-day period set by sharia law.

Iran's heavy use of executions has been the subject of controversy recently. In July Italian advocacy group Hands off Cain released a report [JURIST report] revealing that the number of deaths by capital punishment increased despite a general global trend toward capital punishment abolition, with Iran being among the global leaders in executions. In June former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned [JURIST report] Iran's use of the death penalty for juvenile offenders and called on authorities to halt the announced execution of Razieh Ebrahimi. Also in June a group of independent UN human rights experts condemned [JURIST report] Iran's execution of a political prisoner, calling for the country to end the death penalty. Amnesty International also urged [JURIST report] Iran to not execute this prisoner, stating, "Yet again Iranian authorities are about to execute a man who did not even receive a fair trial in total disregard of both international and Iranian Law."

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