An Iranian woman who was executed on Saturday despite international pleas for clemency left her family a heartbreaking message several months before her death.
Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, was hanged on Saturday morning in Tehran's Evin prison after spending five years on death row for the 2007 murder of a man she said had tried to rape her.
Jabbari confessed to stabbing Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi in the back in the apartment where he allegedly tried to sexually abuse her. She claimed that another man in the apartment was the one who killed Sarbandi, though she refused to identify him. According to Amnesty International, Jabbari's claims were never properly investigated.
Several international organizations, including Amnesty International, the U.N. and the European Union, pleaded for the woman's release, arguing that she acted in self-defense and that her confession was obtained under pressure. Sarbandi's family, however, insisted the murder was premeditated and refused to grant her a reprieve.
In the gut-wrenching message, which dates back to April, Jabbari decries her fate, expressing anger and disappointment with the inspectors and judges who handled her case. She references the pressure she was under during the interrogations and the abuse she faced while in prison.
The message was translated by Iranian activists into English and published on the website of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a coalition of Iranian opposition activists in exile.
The world allowed me to live for 19 years. That ominous night it was I that should have been killed. My body would have been thrown in some corner of the city, and after a few days, the police would have taken you to the coroner’s office to identify my body and there you would also learn that I had been raped as well. The murderer would have never been found since we don’t have their wealth and their power. Then you would have continued your life suffering and ashamed, and a few years later you would have died of this suffering and that would have been that.
However, with that cursed blow the story changed. My body was not thrown aside, but into the grave of Evin Prison and its solitary wards, and now the grave-like prison of Shahr-e Ray. But give in to the fate and don’t complain. You know better that death is not the end of life.
She continues by begging her mother to give up her organs for donation.
My kind mother, dear Sholeh, the one more dear to me than my life, I don’t want to rot under the soil. I don’t want my eye or my young heart to turn into dust. Beg so that it is arranged that as soon as I am hanged my heart, kidney, eye, bones and anything that can be transplanted be taken away from my body and given to someone who needs them as a gift. I don’t want the recipient know my name, buy me a bouquet, or even pray for me. I am telling you from the bottom of my heart that I don’t want to have a grave for you to come and mourn there and suffer. I don’t want you to wear black clothing for me. Do your best to forget my difficult days. Give me to the wind to take away.
According to UN human rights experts, Iran executed 625 people in 2013, including at least 28 women.