Introduction — Oct 25, 2014
On the face of it Reyhaneh Jabbari’s hanging would seem like another example of Iranian misogyny. Or so the Western governments and corporate media would have us believe.
The execution was carried out at dawn on Saturday morning after the victims family refused to pardon Jabbari or accept ‘blood money’.
Amnesty International condemned the trial as “deeply flawed”; a perspective reiterated by the Australian, which reported:
While FXC News reported the story under the headline “26-Year-Old Woman Hanged in Tehran Prison For Killing Her Attacker“.
Britain’s Daily Mail echoed this in a report that highlighted Jabbari’s main defence; which was that she had killed Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former intelligence agent, after he tried to rape her.
Look beyond the corporate media’s headlines and a slightly different picture starts to emerge though. One that is far less politically motivated than Amnesty International’s campaign.
In fact a closer look at the facts involved make it clear Sarbandi’s murder may well have been premeditated.
For a start Jabbari claimed that someone else was present during the attempted rape. His or her testimony could have corroborated Jabbari’s version of events but she refused to identify them.
Why? Unless she had something to hide.
Put that together with the fact that she bought the murder weapon three days before the murder, that the victim was stabbed in the back and that Jabbari was heard threatening to kill the victim days before his murder, and a very different picture begins to emerge.
Admittedly these points are coming from the Iranian media but we should be sceptical about the media anywhere, Iran or the West.
I reserve judgement on the death penalty and on Jabbari’s sentence but highlight this story because it illustrates how the Western media may be reporting events in Iran from a distorted, and highly politicised perspective.
Like this web site the corporate Western media didn’t have any accredited reporters at the trial. So our sources are just as authentic as Reuters or AFP.
However, condemnation of Jabbari’s execution didn’t just come from Amnesty International and the Western corporate media. The U.S. State Department and the British Foreign Office both condemned the execution.
UK Foreign Minister Tobias Ellwood MP denounced Iran’s use of the death penalty in Jabbari’s case, saying in a statement:
“The UN noted that her conviction was allegedly based on confessions made while under threat. I urge Iran to put a moratorium on all executions”.
This synchronicity calls to mind the response to Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. Remember them? The way we were confronted simultaneously with journalistic speculation about Iraq’s WMDs and politicians warnings that we were “45 minutes“ from attack.
Of course those attacks never materialised but it was as if both journalists and politicians were following the same agenda. Are they doing the same here?
Are the media and our politicians being dictated to by the same hidden dictators? The fact the corporate media doesn’t rigourously scrutinise our politicians, as it once did but now seems to work with them, suggests that maybe they are.
Iran hangs woman for killing alleged rapist
Associated Press — Oct 25, 2014
Iran hanged a woman on Saturday who was convicted of murdering a man she said was trying to rape her, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Amnesty International and other human rights groups had called on Iran’s judiciary to halt the execution. But IRNA said Reyhaneh Jabbari was hanged at dawn for premeditated murder. It quoted the court ruling as rejecting the claim of attempted rape and saying all evidence proved that Jabbari had plotted to kill Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former intelligence agent.
According to the court ruling Jabbari, 27, stabbed Sarbandi in the back in 2007 after purchasing a knife two days earlier.
“The knife had been inflicted on the back of the deceased, indicating the murder was not self-defense,” the agency quoted the court ruling as saying.
IRNA said the police investigation found that Jabbari sent a text message to a friend saying she would kill Sarbandi three days before the deadly incident.
Jabbari was found guilty of premeditated murder in 2009 but the sentence was only carried out after Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the verdict. The victim’s family could have saved Jabbari’s life by accepting blood money but they refused to do so.
Iranian media reports say the family insisted on their legal rights under the Islamic principle of “an eye for an eye” partly because Jabbari accused Sarbandi of being a rapist in what became a highly publicized media campaign.
In a statement ahead of the hanging, Amnesty said the investigation had been “deeply flawed” and that Jabbari’s claims “do not appear to have ever been properly investigated.” The group is opposed to the death penalty and has long condemned Iran’s use of capital punishment.