“You as a Woman are Guilty Until You Prove the Opposite” – The Execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari


Reyhaneh Jabbari

As Reyhaneh Jabbari was hanged yesterday, the 26-year old Iranian woman convicted of stabbing a man who tried to rape her, international media filled up with stories about the unfair trial and the torture Reyhaneh supposedly was exposed to before being sentenced.

Reyhaneh claimed that she met Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi in a coffee shop and after he asked her to come to his office to discuss a business deal, he tried to rape her, why she in selfdefence stabbed him with her pocket knife before fleeing. Her lawyer reportedly published on his blog about the unfair trial against Reyhaneh as a plea for help, there were media campaigns against Reyhaneh’s execution, but the media attention didn’t help. After 7 years in prison, for which under some time she was prevented from contact with her family and from having a lawyer, she was hanged in Gohardasht prison in Teheran on the morning of Saturday October 25.

I asked an Iranian man that I know who’s living outside of Iran how he felt about the hanging, and he had many things to say. These are his words:

“Reyaneh has basically been considered guilty to one thing, and that is that she has defended herself as a woman. In many ways you as a woman are considered to be guilty until you in some way prove the opposite. ‘Evidence’ is here quite an irrelevant word.”

He talks about how the police in Iran are not conducting proper forensic investigations, and that facts is not important in the judicial system.

“If the judge thinks she is guilty for whatever reason,  she is guilty no matter what the circumstances are. It’s also ridiculously humiliating that Reyhaneh’s family have to ask the man’s family for mercy so that they shall spare her life. In this way the system is positioning one family against another. It’s not about proportion, facts or the right to defend yourself, but simply about a system that wants to prove that you as a woman shall not defend yourself and that you don’t have the right to a fair trial. But these kind of cases are not uncommon in Iran, there are worse… In the bigger picture this is not surprising. In Isfahan women have had acid thrown on their faces. This is just one case of many.”

Photo credit: taz.de

21 thoughts on ““You as a Woman are Guilty Until You Prove the Opposite” – The Execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari

  1. Sad and angry at same time, these type of legal injustices are so common in many Muslim countries, they anger and embarrass me both. As a Muslim feminist I know my work is not done for a long long long time until we are able to dismantle the gender based violence and patriarchal elements from religion’s distortion. Its an insult to religion itself when you hang a woman for trying to defend herself from getting raped.
    R.I.P Reyhaneh Jabbari, while we fight on for justice.
    And thank you very much Jenny for giving this matter attention.


  2. This is all so very sad that here we are in the year 2014 and it’s like reading something from centuries ago. People speak of how much progress has taken place. Frankly, I cannot see it. Another extreme case of “The innocent is the guilty and the guilty is the innocent.”

    Thank you for posting this so that many can be made aware that atrocities against women for being women are still ongoing even as we strive to make progress and after reading this, I have to wonder, do we ever really make any progress?


  3. Hey Jenny, I have written a post in my way on this issue at my blog too, I wondered if I could add credit cite your source link too?


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