Iran hangs woman accused of murdering love rival

Iranian Khadijeh Shahla Jahed, file photo, 2004
Shahla Jahed had spent nine years in the notorious Evin prison

Iran has executed a woman sentenced to death for murdering the first wife of a prominent footballer, her lawyer says. Abdolsamad Khoramshahi said Shahla Jahed was hanged at 0500 local time (0130 GMT) at Tehran’s Evin prison, the official Irna news agency reported.
International human rights groups have campaigned for her release since she was jailed nine years ago. The execution is the 146th in Iran this year, according to AFP news agency.
Amnesty International on Tuesday made a last-minute appeal for the sentence to be halted, saying Jahed had not received a fair trial. Jahed, who had been living with footballer Nasser Mohammad-khani in Tehran under a temporary marriage, was found guilty of stabbing to death his first wife, Laleh Saharkhizan, in 2002. She first confessed to the murder, but then retracted the statement in court. She had spent the last nine years in Iran’s notorious Evin prison.
‘Procedural flaws’
Mr Mohammad-khani was a top Iranian footballer in the late 1980s who later became coach for Tehran’s Persepolis club. The practice of a temporary marriage, known as sigheh, is allowed under Shia Islam.
It prevented Mr Mohammad-khani from facing charges of adultery, although he was sentenced to 74 lashes for drug-taking after the court heard he had smoked opium with his mistress. He was initially suspected of complicity in the murder and jailed for several months, but released after Jahed’s confession.
Malcolm Smart, Amnesty director for the Middle East and North Africa, said there are “strong grounds to believe that Shahla Jahed did not receive a fair trial, and may have been coerced into making a ‘confession’ during months of detention in solitary confinement”.
“She retracted that confession at her trial but the court chose to accept it as evidence against her,” he added in a statement.
The verdict was overturned in 2008 after the judiciary cited “procedural flaws” but Jahed was again sentenced to death in February 2009.

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