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Zeinab Sekaanvand was convicted of killing her abusive husband in 2014.

Iran has executed a female victim of domestic and sexual violence who was convicted of killing her husband when she was a minor, according to Amnesty International.

The execution of Zeinab Sekaanvand is "profoundly unjust and shows the Iranian authorities' contempt for the right of children to life," the London-based human rights watchdog said on October 2.

A statement said the 24-year-old was hanged early in the day in Urumieh central prison in West Azerbaijan province.

An ethnic Kurd, Sekaanvand was 15 when she married her husband, according to Amnesty, and she was sentenced to death in October 2014 following a "grossly unfair trial" for allegedly stabbing him to death.

Philip Luther, Amnesty International's research and advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said she "sought help many times from the authorities about her violent husband and alleged that her brother-in-law had raped her repeatedly."

Instead of investigating the allegations, Iranian authorities "consistently ignored her and failed to provide her with any support as a victim of domestic and sexual violence," Luther added.

He also called Sekaanvand's execution "a sickening demonstration of the Iranian authorities' disregard for the principles of juvenile justice and international human rights law."

A spokeswoman for EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini said that death-penalty sentences and executions for crimes committed by persons below the age of 18 are "inconsistent with Iran's international obligations under the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child."

Maja Kocijancic also noted that Sekaanvand was "a child bride and reportedly a domestic abuse victim" who "maintained her innocence and...retracted her confession, claiming that it had been the result of torture."

Amnesty International urged Iran to establish a moratorium on executions, commute all death sentences, and prohibit the use of the death penalty against people below the age of 18 at the time of the crime.

Iran is one of the world's leading executioners. Amnesty International said in April that 507 people were executed in the country last year, including at least five juvenile offenders.

With reporting by Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels
Former Kazakh official Viktor Khrapunov (file photo)

Verdicts in the trial of the former Almaty Mayor Viktor Khrapunov and his relatives and former associates will be pronounced next week, a court said on October 2.

Judge Qasym Qalmaghambetov set October 8 as the date for verdicts to be pronounced in the high-profile case.

Khrapunov and his wife, Leila Kharpunova, who are living in Switzerland, are being tried in absentia on charges of fraud, creating and running an organized-crime group, money laundering, abuse of office, and embezzlement.

Their relative Ayar Ilyasov is also being tried in absentia on the same charges.

Nine other defendants, most of them former subordinates of Khrapunov, pleaded guilty at the trial. Last week prosecutors asked the court to convict and sentence Khrapunov to 20 years, his wife to 17 years, and Ilyasov to 8 years in prison.

Khrapunov was mayor of Almaty, Kazakhstan's biggest city, between 1997 and 2004.

He was later appointed governor of the East Kazakhstan region, but was dismissed from that post in 2007 and served for a short time as emergency situations minister.

Khrapunov and his family moved to Switzerland in 2007 in the wake of a scandal surrounding parcels of land that he was accused of distributing illegally during his tenure as mayor.

Khrapunov has rejected the charges against him and his wife, saying they are politically motivated. Khrapunov's stepson, Ilyas Khrapunov, is married to a daughter of fugitive Kazakh tycoon Mukhtar Ablyazov, a critic of President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Ablyazov has been living in self-imposed exile in Europe since 2009.

Ablyazov was tried in absentia in Almaty in June 2017 and sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of organizing and leading a criminal group, abuse of office, embezzlement, and financial mismanagement.

Ablyazov has also maintained his innocence, calling his trial politically motivated.

Rights activists and critics say the long-ruling Nazarbaev has persistently suppressed dissent, prolonged his time in office through undemocratic votes, and used the levers of power to neutralize potential opponents.

With reporting by Tengrinews and KazTAG

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"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.

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