"I didn't know who I was beating with that steel pipe. I saw him as a monster. No matter how many times I would hit him, he would still attack me. I was terrified."
These are the words of a young woman who had attacked her husband as he slept. Two years ago, a 25 year old woman, named Raheleh, went to her brother-in-law's home with her two young children in tow, claiming that her husband, Mohamad, had not returned home after leaving a few days earlier.
Less than 24 hours into Police's investigation into Mohamad's disappearance, the body of a 33 year old man was found in an oil well located on a property in Eslamshahr. While searching Mohamad's home, investigators noticed that the rugs were wet and found blood spots in the kitchen. Accordingly, they suspected that Mohamad had been murdered inside his home, and they charged Raheleh, Mohamad's wife, with his murder.
After her arrest and during police interrogations, Raheleh claimed responsibility for her husband's murder. In court, Raheleh explained: "On the day of the incident, I got home and I saw a strange woman in my home, who, upon seeing me, ran off into the bathroom. Shocked about this woman's presence in my home, I confronted my husband. Mohamad yelled at me and told me that I was no longer of any use to him as a 'woman' since I had had two kids and he no longer found me attractive. When I got upset, Mohamad began beating me and threw me out of the house. I was extremely upset, but after a few hours I returned to my house, and again asked Mohamad about the woman. Not only did Mohamad refuse to apologize for his actions, he actually threatened to kill me if I said anything to anyone about his extra-marital relationships. I was a mess. I could never have imagined that my husband would cheat on me or beat me so brutally only a month after I had given birth to our son. I was an emotional wreck; I was severely depressed; so when Mohamad gave me some pills that he said would calm my nerves, I took them."
Breaking into tears, Raheleh continued: "A little while after giving me the pills, Mohamad went to lay down. I remembered discovering a steel pipe in the storage room when I was cleaning out that room a few days earlier. I went to the storage room, picked up the steel pipe and went to where Momhad was laying down. At this point, he seemed like a demonic monster to me. I was very scared, so I began to hit him with the steel pipe. But he kept coming after me, attacking me, and beating me repeatedly. So I fought back. When he finally stopped moving, I saw my daughter in the room and I turned off the light so she would not see what had happened. Until the very moment that I put Mohamad's body in the oil tank, I thought he was some kind of a live demon who would repeatedly attack and abuse me."
Raheleh appears to have been suffering from severe post-partum depression during the incident (she had given birth to the couple's second child only a month and half prior to the incident). Further, based on her husband's abusive treatment of her over the years, she also portrayed classic signs of battered-women's syndrome. Regardless of the evidence about her altered mental state and mental and emotional illnesses, Raheleh was found guilty of pre-meditated first degree murder, and was sentenced to death by hanging.
Raheleh's in-laws, who took physical custody of her two young children upon her arrest, have refused to allow the young mother to see her children during the time that she has been in prison.
Raheleh's execution is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, December 20, 2008.
The SaveDelara campaign strongly condemns the execution sentence of Raheleh Zamani, and calls on human rights organizations, activists, and groups to contact officials in Iran and urge them to stop the planned hanging of the young mother.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Persian, English or your own language:
- expressing concern that Raheleh Zamani is at risk of execution, despite being under the influence of mind-altering drugs and suffering from post-partum depression and other emotional and mental illnesses;
- calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately halt the execution of Raheleh Zamani;
- calling for the death sentence against Raheleh Zamani to be commuted;
- stating that the world community acknowledges the right and responsibility of governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences, but unconditionally opposes the death penalty.
Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Justice Building, Panzdah-Khordad Square, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: + 98 21 3390 4986 (please keep trying; send appeals by post or email if you cannot get through)
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Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei,
Leader of the Islamic Republic
The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shahid Keshvar Doost Street, Tehran. Islamic Republic of Iran
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His Excellency Gholamali Haddad Adel
Majles-e Shoura-ye Eslami, Baharestan Square, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: + 98 21 3355 6408
and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.