Iran hanging Fears for child bride Zeinab Sekaanvand

Nima  Hesabian

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A 22 year old woman whose execution was delayed while she was pregnant may be hanged in Iran within days, after she gave birth to a stillborn baby. Zeinab Sekaanvand was convicted of killing her husband, whom she says beat her for months. Doctors said the young woman’s baby died in her womb two days before she gave birth as a result of the shock she suffered after her friend and cellmate was executed. Amnesty International says Ms Sekaanvand comes from a poor, conservative Iranian-Kurdish family, and ran away from home to marry her first husband, Hossein Sarmadi.

 

“This is an extremely disturbing case. Not only was Zeinab Sekaanvand under 18 years of age at the time of the crime, she was also denied access to a lawyer and says she was tortured after her arrest by male police officers through beatings all over her body,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

 

Ms Sekaanvand was 17-years-old when she was arrested in February 2012 for the murder of her husband, whom she had married at the age of 15. She stated she saw marrying him as her simplest chance for a greater life, but not long after their wedding ceremony, she mentioned, he started beating her continuously and verbally abusing her.The younger lady registered a number of police complaints against her husband, none of which have been investigated. Her husband rejected her requests for a divorce, and when she tried to come to her oldsters, they disowned her for eloping. She told the court that her husband’s brother, who she said had raped her several times, was responsible for the murder and had coerced her into “confessing”, promising that he would pardon her (under Islamic law, murder victims’ relatives have the power to pardon the offender and accept financial compensation instead)

 

The younger girl might be executed as quickly as 13 October.

 

In 2015, Ms Sekaanvand married a fellow prisoner at Oroumieh Central Jail in northern Iran, and have become pregnant. Her execution was delayed till after the start, as it’s unlawful to execute a pregnant girl in Iran.

 

In the past decade, Iran has executed at least 73 juvenile offenders, according to a report released by Amnesty International in January.

 

Sources:

BC News – Middle East, 1B1 Oct 2016

www.amnesty.org – Iran – Death Penalty, 11 Oct  2016

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