Thursday, December 2, 2010

Shahla Jahed

(Image from the New York Daily News)

Shahla Jahed had the misfortune of being involved in a religiously sanctified sexual affair a sigheh marriage with Iranian 1980's soccer (football for the rest of the world)  star Nasser Mohammed Khani. Khani's wife, Laleh Saharkhizan, was murdered in 2002. Mr. Khani was a suspect in her murder until Sahla Jahed "confessed". There are a number of interesting aspects of this case, namely that the confession was later retracted and some Iranian anti-death penalty advocates state that Jahed had confessed after being threatened that a relative's child would be raped. Mr. Khani was spared being lashed 99 times for having committed adultery thanks to the wondrous sigheh. But when it was revealed he had smoked opium with Jahed, he was lashed 74 times. I haven't found mention of whether Ms. Jahed was lashed, too. She survived eight years in Evin prison, while her case was tried, then overturned on 'procedural problems" (like the first examiner who listened to her case believed her innocent... that was a really serious problem because that might lead them back to the famous Mr. Khani...). Ms. Jahed was retried, and convicted, in 2009. She was sentenced to death. Of course, I guess the sigheh marriage spared her a stoning sentence like Sakineh Ashtiani.

Ms. Jahed's execution by hanging, the 146th execution in Iran this year, was carried out this morning. It was a family affair. Mr. Khani was present, of course. And Laleh Saharkhizan's brother (or son, according to some sources) yanked the chair out from under Ms. Jahed's feet. Ms. Jahed was reportedly praying for a reprieve to the very last moment, then burst into tears and shouted that her life should be spared.

The case of Shahla Jahed was much publicized in Iran, which evidently has some of the same lust for grime and gossip about stars as does the USA. She was a famous, or should we say infamous, woman. But many believed her innocent. Being an innocent woman in Iran is evidently not much safer than being a guilty one, however. It's that woman part that seems to be the sticky issue.

There were a number of anomalies in her final days, including the fact that her attorney did not receive proper notice of her impending execution, which would have allowed him to seek the final appeal, to the Saharkhizan family to spare her life, though given the way that execution went down, I'm thinking that was a big no way

Human rights groups have decried Ms. Jahed's execution and the fact that there is much suspicion that her confession was coerced. But the execution itself is as bad as the trials,  tribulations and injustice that Ms. Jahed endured to get there, in their eyes.

"I am dismayed by this latest execution in Iran and also by the inhumane way in which it was carried out," said the Council of Europe's secretary-general Thorbjorn Jagland.
~ from the BBC

I know some Iranian news outlets are saying that Iran was just lusting to kill some woman, and since Sakineh is still attracting too much attention it couldn't be her.

I'm just hoping this wasn't the dry run for Sakineh. I can't help thinking that maybe Iran is just trying to get the world to see that Sakineh is just one of the many. Actually, it's working really well. At least for me. 

Shahla was one of the many.

One of the many suspiciously convicted women. 

One of the many victims of injustice.

© Bright Nepenthe, 2010

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