Iran hanged a 26-year-old woman convicted of killing her alleged rapist, despite international appeals for a retrial, the official IRNA news agency reported Saturday.
Reyhaneh Jabbari was executed at dawn Saturday after spending five years in an Iranian jail for stabbing and killing 47-year-old surgeon Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence.
Before the execution, international rights groups, including the UN, had called for prosecutors to reopen the case, saying there was evidence Jabbari's confession was obtained under duress and only after intense interrogation.
On Saturday, Amnesty International said in a statement that sending Jabbari to the gallows after such a "flawed investigation and trial" is an "affront to justice."
"The shocking news that Reyhaneh Jabbari has been executed is deeply disappointing in the extreme. This is another bloody stain on Iran's human rights record," Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa deputy director said.
"Tragically, this case is far from uncommon. Once again Iran has insisted on applying the death penalty despite serious concerns over the fairness of the trial," Sahraoui said.
Amnesty released an earlier statement Friday saying that, although Jabbari admitted to stabbing Sarbandi in the back, her claims that another man was present in the apartment at the time who actually killed the victim were never properly investigated.
Jabbari's lawyers later argued that the interior designer had killed Sarbandi in self defense after he lured her to an apartment with the promise of redesign work, but instead attempted to sexually assault her.
Other prominent Iranian celebrities and figures had also appealed for clemency for Jabbari since her 2009 conviction, without success.
A Facebook page titled "Save Reyhaneh Jabbari from Execution in Iran" said she had a fever when she was taken to the gallows Saturday. Her mother and the murdered surgeon's eldest son, Jalal Sarbandi, were reportedly present at her hanging.
After the execution, the Tehran state prosecutor's office released a statement apparently defending their decision, saying, "Jabbari had repeatedly confessed to premeditated murder, then tried to divert the case from its course by inventing the rape charge."
"All her efforts to feign innocence were proven false in various phases of prosecution," the statement said, according to the Guardian. "Evidence was firm. She had informed a friend through text message of her intention to kill. It was ascertained that she had purchased the murder weapon, a kitchen knife, two days before committing murder."
The White House joined the chorus of voices condemning the killing Saturday saying, "there were serious concerns with the fairness of the trial and the circumstances surrounding this case."
"We join our voice with those who call on Iran to respect the fair trial guarantees afforded to its people under Iran's own laws and its international obligations," US officials said in a statement.
More than 250 people have been executed in Iran so far this year, according to UN figures.
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