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Iran Executes Woman Who Said She Stabbed A Man Who Attacked Her

Reyhaneh Jabbari, seen here during a 2008 court date in Tehran, was executed in Iran Saturday. She had said she acted to defend herself from a potential rapist. (AFP/Getty Images)

Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, was executed by hanging in Tehran today, despite her appeals and calls from international activists for a new trial. Jabbari had said she acted in self-defense when she stabbed a man who was trying to sexually abuse her. Her execution had been postponed several times since her sentence was first announced in 2009.

Jabbari was arrested in 2007 over the death of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, who once worked in Iran's Ministry of Intelligence, according to Amnesty International. The organization says Jabbari "was placed in solitary confinement for two months and was denied access to a lawyer or her family."

More than 240,000 people have signed an online petition that urged Iranian authorities to spare Jabbari's life. The petition describes her as an interior designer who was tricked into visiting a house by Sarbandi, who then attacked her.

Reuters reports, "She had pleaded self-defense but failed to sway judges at various stages of appeal up to Iran's Supreme Court and she remained in prison throughout."

"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," said Amnesty International's Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui. 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."

The U.S. condemned the killing today, with State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki citing "serious concerns with the fairness of the trial and the circumstances surrounding this case, including reports of confessions made under severe duress."

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