[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Jul 27 17:33:17 CDT 2004
Iran 'killer of rapist' reprieved
Iran's Supreme Court has quashed the death sentence passed on a woman who
killed an intelligence officer she claims tried to rape her.
Afsaneh Norouzi, 33, was arrested 7 years ago after the Iranian officer
was found stabbed to death on the holiday island of Kish in the Persian
The mother of 3 claimed she used the knife to defend herself - prompting
support from women's rights groups.
A lower court will decide whether Mrs Norouzi is sentenced again or freed.
"The Supreme Court has quashed the death sentence against Afsaneh Norouzi
for some deficiencies in the case," her lawyer, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi,
told the Reuters news agency.
He said he was hopeful for her fate. "I welcome the ruling and see it as
opening the way to accept what Afsaneh says: that she acted in legitimate
Mrs Norouzi and her family were visiting the intelligence officer in Kish
in 1997, when her husband was called away.
She said she tried to defend herself with a knife when the officer
attempted to rape her.
A court in Kish eventually found her guilty of murder and condemned her to
death - a sentence upheld by the Supreme Court last year.
The BBC's Tehran correspondent Jim Muir said she was even told the verdict
would be carried out - something that usually means execution is just days
But her case was taken up by reformist members of the Iranian Parliament
and women's rights advocates.
They argued that if Afsaneh Norouzi were put to death, Iranian women would
no longer dare to defend their honour against sexual assault.
The head of the judiciary finally ordered a review - again put before the
Supreme Court, which this time quashed the death verdict.
Now the local court in Kish must decide whether to hand down a reduced
sentence, or to let Mrs Norouzi go free.
(source: BBC World News)
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