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Thursday, 13 October 2016

Stop the Execution of Zeinab Sekaanvand


Iranian Kurdish woman Zeinab Sekaanvand Lokran, now aged 22, was sentenced to death under qesas (“retribution in kind”) in October 2014 after an unfair trial before a criminal court in West Azerbaijan Province, which convicted her of killing her husband. She was arrested in February 2012 at a police station where she “confessed” to the murder of her husband, whom she had married at the age of 15. She was held in the police station for the next 20 days where she has said she was tortured through beatings all over her body by male police officers. She “confessed” that she stabbed her husband after he had subjected her to months of physical and verbal abuse and had refused her requests for divorce. She was only provided with a (state-appointed) lawyer at her final trial session, at which point she retracted her “confession” telling the judge that her husband’s brother, who she said had raped her several times, had committed the murder. She said he told her that, if she accepted responsibility, he would pardon her (under Islamic law, murder victims’ relatives have the power to pardon the offender and accept financial compensation instead). The court failed to investigate Zeinab Sekaanvand’s statements and, instead, relied on “confessions” she had made without a lawyer present to issue a verdict. Although she was under 18 years old at the time of the crime, the court failed to apply juvenile sentencing provisions in Iran’s 2013 Islamic Penal Code and order a forensic report to assess her “mental growth and maturity” at the time of the crime. Continue

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