The European Union asked for a halt to all executions in Iran and expressed its displeasure over the execution of Rehanna Jabbari, a young Iranian woman. The European Union also sent its sympathies to the Jabbari family, particularly to the woman’s mother. The EU High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security of Policy, Catherine Ashton, noted in a statement to the press on Tuesday, that the European Union was regretful for Iranian courts absence of mercy in their judicial process in spite of Jabbari’s assertion that she was defending herself from a sexual attack.
Ashton further said in the statement that there was a feeling of concern regarding the growing number of executions in Iran even with criticism from the global community and the argument that execution, may or may not be a fair sentence in the first place. The announcement from the European Union also requested that the Iranian establishment halt all executions and consider prohibiting the death penalty. The United States also condemned Iran’s verdict to utilize the death penalty in a case like Rehanna Jabbari’s and questioned the fairness of the trial.
Ms. Jabbari was put to to death a few days ago after being incarcerated for 7 years in an Iranian prison for the stabbing death of Moerteza Serbandi. Sebandi was a former employee of the Iranian Intelligence Agency and a doctor. Jabbari confessed that she killed Serbandi after he attempted to rape her. The Iranian judicial system concluded that the death of Serbani was premeditated, because an email written by Jabbari to a friend said that she would kill the doctor.
Multiple international organizations such as the UN, the European Union and Amnesty International appealed to Iranian authorities to release Jabbari, saying that the trial and investigation were flawed, her confession was coerced and she acted in self-defense. Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. Secretary-General expressed concern for the rise in Iranian executions. According to Amnesty Iran has the second highest number of executions, with China taking the lead.
After failing to obtain a reprieve, Rehanna Jabbari was executed by hanging Saturday morning in Evin prison, Tehran.UN human right experts say that in 2013 Iran executed at least 625 individuals, counting 28 women. Jabbari’s death sentence, caused the United States and the European Union to condemn the regime of President Hassam Rouhani, who was elected on a slate promising liberal reform, for failing to commute Jabbari’s sentence.
The execution of Jabbari occurred at a difficult moment for Rouhani, who has been following a perilous path to reestablish a harmonious relationship with the West, after years of hostility on both sides due mainly to Iran’s human rights practices and their nuclear program. Rouhani also has secular critics in Iran due to recent acid attacks on women. The women were assaulted because their attackers believed they were not sufficiently covered according to sharia. Some rights activists and others agree with the European Union’s call to halt all Iranian executions. They believe that some individuals, especially in the Elite Revolutionary Guards and the judiciary are in opposition to Rouhani due to his attempts to reconcile with the West, push executions in order to undermine him.
By Gerald Sowell
Photo Jenn Vargas – Flickr