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Iranian Woman Convicted of Killing Husband Hanged Despite Dying of Heart Attack

Representative image.

Representative image.

Zahra Ismaili was convicted of killing her husband Alireza Zamani, an Iranian intelligence official, who was abusive to her and her daughter.

In a bizarre incident, an Iranian woman who died of a heart attack while waiting to be executed was hanged anyway. Zahra Ismaili was convicted of killing her husband Alireza Zamani, an Iranian intelligence official, who was abusive to her and her daughter.

The mother of two was to be executed at Rajai Shahr Prison, a notoriously harsh jail in the town of Karaj, around 20 miles from Tehran. But while waiting to be executed, she suffered a fatal heart attack before her execution.

According to her lawyer Omid Moradi, she was forced to wait in line at the gallows behind 16 men whom she watched die before her and passed away by a heart attack. Her body was taken up to the scaffold and hanged from the noose anyway. Moradi claims ‘they hanged her lifeless body so that her husband’s mother could exercise the right to kick away the chair from under her lifeless legs.

The cause of death is stated as ‘cardiac arrest’ on Ismail’s death certificate, according to Moradi. Ismail acted to defend herself and her daughter from her abusive husband, he adds.

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As per Arab News, the execution is being condemned by human rights activists and analysts. An analyst at the Tony Blair Institute, Kasra Aarabi describes the killing as ‘truly barbaric’ and urges world leaders to speak out. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a British-Australian academic described it as ‘gruesome.’

Sharia Law of Qisas (eye for an eye) grants the victim or victim’s family the right to retributive justice. A mass execution of 17 convicts in one day is not uncommon in Iran, which stands after China in its use of capital punishment. Iranians are executed for non-violent crimes like for being gay, having sex outside marriage, drug trafficking and for drinking alcohol. Small children as young as 12, are also sentenced to death which is against International law.

In 2019, two 17-year-old boys were secretly flogged and executed for rape without informing their families. The incident sparked outrage over child executions.

first published:February 24, 2021, 16:45 IST