Accessibility links

Breaking News

Watchdog

Zeinab Sekaanvand was convicted of killing her first husband, who she says was abusive. (file photo)

Human rights activists say an Iranian former child bride, whose execution was delayed while she was pregnant, could be executed in the coming days.

Zeinab Sekaanvand, a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman, was convicted of killing her husband, who she says beat her for months.

She was arrested when she was 17 years old and convicted of the murder of her husband, in a trial described as grossly unfair by rights activists.

In a statement on October 11, Amnesty International called the case "extremely disturbing" and said Sekaanvand was due to be executed by hanging as soon as October 13.

Sekaanvand had recently given birth to a stillborn baby in prison.

"Not only was Zeinab Sekaanvand under 18 years of age at the time of the crime, she was also denied access to a lawyer and says she was tortured after her arrest by male police officers through beatings all over her body,” said Philip Luther, research and advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, on October 11.

"Iran’s continued use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders displays the authorities' contempt even for commitments they themselves have signed up to," Luther added. "The Iranian authorities must immediately quash Zeinab Sekaanvand’s conviction and grant her a fair retrial without recourse to the death penalty, and in accordance with principles of juvenile justice."

London-based Amnesty International said Sekaanvand was aged 15 when she married her first husband, Hossein Sarmadi. While in prison, she remarried.

Last year, a similar case attracted condemnation from rights groups when Iranian authorities executed Fatemeh Salbehi, who was convicted of suffocating her husband after drugging him when she was only 17. Salbehi said her husband had abused her.

In the past decade, Iran has executed at least 73 juvenile offenders, according to a report released by Amnesty International in January.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks (file photo)

The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner has cancelled a trip to Russia due to what he called "unacceptable" restrictions put on him by the government.

Nils Muiznieks said on October 11 that the visit, planned for the third week of October, was cancelled due to Russia-imposed limitations, which included a request to limit the amount of time Muiznieks would be authorized to spend in Moscow to 48 hours.

Muiznieks, a Latvian-American, added that Russia, as a member-state of the Council of Europe, is required to provide information and help him establish contacts.

"As I told the Russian authorities, it is deeply disturbing and highly regrettable that these requirements are not fulfilled by the authorities of the Russian Federation today," Muiznieks said.

Based on reporting by dpa and en.europeonline-magazine.eu

Load more

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

Subscribe

Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More

XS
SM
MD
LG