The reprieve for an Iranian woman sentenced to die for killing a man she says tried to rape her has proven short, according to her mother, who told FoxNews.com her daughter is now slated to go to the gallows next week.
The last several days have been a cruel roller coaster ride for Sole Pakravan, whose daughter has spent seven years awaiting execution. Rayhaneh Jabbari, 26, was to be executed Tuesday, but the sentence was postponed with little or no explanation hours before it was to take place, and even as Pakravan and other supporters of Jabbari gathered outside an Iranian prison. But on Thursday, Pakravan told FoxNews.com the death sentence was back on the calendar.
“The countdown has begun. It’s hell. It’s the worst feeling. I can’t be awake facing this reality and I can’t go to sleep,” she said. “When people see that someone (is) drowning, some rush to rescue and some who are indifferent stay away and say that ‘let’s not get involved because if we do we will get our pants or feet soaked in water.’ I can shout and shout that my daughter is in danger, but everybody knows what the right thing is to do for my daughter in this situation.”
Amnesty International, which has pressed Jabbari’s case, released a statement that the execution initially set for Sept. 30 was postponed for 10 days, and decrying a conviction that stemmed from “a flawed investigation and unfair trial.”
Earlier this week, Pakravan spoke to FoxNews.com via Skype and begged for her daughter’s life.
“The only thing I want … from God, from people around the world … in any way, in any form, is I just want to bring Rayhaneh back home,” Pakravan said in Farsi, which was translated by FoxNews.com. “I wish they would come tie a rope around my neck and kill me instead, but to allow Rayhaneh to come back home.”
Jabbari was convicted in the 2007 fatal stabbing of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry. Jabbari, who worked as a decorator and was just 19 at the time, says Sarbandi drugged her and tried to rape her after the two met at a cafe and she agreed to go to his office to discuss a business deal. Jabbari allegedly stabbed Sarbandi with a pocket knife and fled as he bled to death.
Jabbari’s execution was postponed in April in the wake of pressure from the international community, including a petition with nearly 200,000 signatures. But Jabbari believes her execution is imminent, and her mother says after Jabbari called her to tell her the prison planned to carry out her sentence, she was handcuffed and taken away.
“In reality, they didn’t want her to have any contact with her family and they didn’t want her cellmates to even see,” Pakravan said. “I told her, ‘Rayhaneh, this is impossible! It’s illegal! They can’t do this! Your case is up for re-evaluation. None of this makes sense!’ … Rayhaneh replied, ‘My dearest mother, you can rationalize this however you’d like, but they are taking me to kill me.’”
Pakravan and her family have been protesting outside of Rajaiy Shahr Prison in hopes of drawing attention to Jabbari’s case.
“The only thing I want in this universe is for Rayhaneh to be released. I have done everything I can think of,” Pakravan said. “I am a mother. No mother can accept the death of her child.”
The desperate plea came as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is in New York meeting with world leaders at the UN General Assembly, and seeking to put a moderate face on the repressive regime. Supporters of Rouhani hoped his election last year would usher in a more tolerant era than the one of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, particularly regarding human rights. But advocacy groups say the number of executions and violations have increased.
Earlier this week, Mohsen Amir Aslani, a former psychologist was executed for heresy in Iran after eight years in prison for allegedly giving religious classes where he propagated a new interpretation of the Koran. He was also accused by the authorities of insulting the Prophet Jonah.