Iran Executed Shahla Jahed: Accused of Murdering Lover's Wife
Shahla Jahed, mistress of a famed Iranian soccer player, was hanged in the early hours today, Iran media reported.
The wife’s family was present during Jahed’s execution at 5am. Shahla Jahed’s life could have been spared if the family pardoned her.
According to Amnesty International, more than 388 people were executed in Iran last year-more than any other country in the world apart from China. Most executions are carried out by hanging.
Jahed was found guilty in 2002 for the murder of Laleh Saharkhizan, the wife of Naser Mohammadkhani, a soccer star and coach who rose to prominence in the the 1980s.
Held in Tehran’s Evin prison for nine years and sentenced to death on the basis of her confession, Jahed continuously renounced the admission at her public trial.
An international outcry occurred early this year after Sakineh Mohammdi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old woman, was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.Jahed’s execution was initially postponed as a result of Ashtiani’s case. But according to Jahed’s lawyer, the Iranian judiciary will execute her in Tehran’s Evin prison at 5am on Wednesday.
Jahed was arrested as the prime suspect following the murder but she refused to talk for nearly a year. Mohammadkhani was also imprisoned for several months on charges of complicity but was released after the authorities said Jahed confessed to committing the crime alone.
Jahed told the judge at her public trial: "If you want to kill me go ahead … if you send me back there [where her confessions were taken], I'll confess again and not only will I confess to killing her but I'd also confess that I killed those who have been killed by others," she continued. She then repeatedly reiterated that she is innocent and that she had not committed any crime.
Many activists in Iran suspect Jahed was forced to confess to stabbing the soccer star’s wife to death. News of her pending execution outraged human rights groups who campaigned for several years to stop Iran from killing her
Mohammadkhani was "temporarily married" to Jahed, a practice allowed under Shia Islam. Temporary marriage or "sigheh", as it is known in Iran, allows men to take on wives for as little as a few hours to years so long any offspring are legally provided for. Critics see this practice as legalised prostitution. Mohammadkhani was in Germany when the murder unfolded.
Shahla Jahed's case drew huge attention when Iran took the unprecedented decision of holding her trial in public.
According to Iranian law, Shahla Jahed's life could still be spared if the family of the murdered wife pardons her before 5am.