A woman who has spent 10 years in prison in Iran after being convicted of murdering the man she was forced to marry aged 15 has been hanged, rights groups have said.
Samira Sabzian was the subject of an international campaign for clemency, with Norway-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) pointing out she had been a victim of domestic violence.
The organisation said Sabzian, believed to be in her late twenties or early thirties, had been executed this morning at Ghezel Hesar, the largest state prison in the country.
Since she was sentenced a decade ago, she had not been allowed to see her two children – one of whom was a newborn at the time – until a final meeting in prison earlier this month.
The British Government had been among those called for her life to be spared.
Sabzian’s death comes amid international criticism of Iran’s surge in executions, with hundreds being killed by the state so far this year including more than a dozen women.
Last month, the United Nations Human Rights Office condemned the execution of 17-year-old Hamidreza Azari who had been accused of murder, describing him as an ‘alleged child offender’.
The office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights said it was ‘alarmed’ by Sabzian’s execution, adding: ‘We again urge Iran to establish a moratorium on all executions with a view to abolishing death penalty.’
Amnesty International said she had been ‘subjected to a forced and early marriage as a child’, adding it was ‘horrified’ by reports of her death.
The campaign group’s Iran chapter had spent the early days of this week making a last-ditch effort to stop the execution amid fears it was imminent.
Sabzian’s execution has not yet been reported by media inside Iran.
IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: ‘Samira was a victim of years of gender apartheid, child marriage, and domestic violence, and today she fell victim to the incompetent and corrupt regime’s killing machine.
‘A regime that has sustained itself solely through killing and instilling fear.’
He said Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khameini should be ‘held accountable for this crime’, along with the country’s other leaders.
Last year, at least 582 people were executed in the country according to a report from IHR – an increase of 75% from 2021.
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