Reyhaneh Jabbari had spent five years on death row for stabbing a 47-year-old surgeon who had previously worked for the intelligence ministry, the official IRNA news agency reported. Efforts for clemency had intensified in recent weeks. Jabbari's mother was allowed to visit her for one hour on Friday, Amnesty said - a custom that tends to precede executions in Iran.A man was dead. Iranian justice required a life to forfeit in exchange. Knowing this, Miss Jabbari still claimed self-defense, and refused to dime out the other male she claimed was in the room at the time of Mr. Sarbandi's death, who would have certainly faced the death penalty had she named him...that is, if he existed at all. Not that it was in any way certain that giving up this other phantasmic man would have saved her neck; given the obvious questions about what Miss Jabari was doing in a room alone with two unrelated men, she (and he) could have still faced harsh if not capital punishment for possible zina.
However, Sarbandi's family insisted the murder was premeditated and that Jabbari had confessed to buying a knife two days before the killing. According to Jalal Sarbandi, the victim's eldest son, Jabbari testified that a man was present in the apartment where his father was killed but she had refused to reveal his identity. He said in April that his family "would not even contemplate mercy until truth is unearthed. Only when her true intentions are exposed and she tells the truth about her accomplice and what really went down will we be prepared to grant mercy," he said at the time.
Jabbari's plea of self-defence failed to persuade judges at various stages of the appeal process up to Iran's Supreme Court and she remained in prison throughout.
Interestingly, the twin claims of "self defense" and "rape" were ineffective at saving her life. In the West, both claims, especially if uttered by a woman, an particularly if linked together, as in this case, would have had far more currency and may have saved her life. Not so in Iran, and in other shariah-law countries, which demands more evidence than a mere accusation to exculpate someone from a heinous crime.