November 20, 2014
Honourable senators, I rise today to remember Reyhaneh Jabbari, a 26 year old woman hanged three weeks ago in Iran, and to condemn the Iranian regime’s brutal and arbitrary so-called judicial system.
Ms. Jabbari was arrested seven years ago and found guilty in 2009 of murder—despite her contention that she had stabbed the deceased in self-defence when he tried to rape her.
The United Nations rapporteur for human rights urged a review of her trial by Iranian authorities, and a re-trial. He wrote, “Ms. Jabbari’s case raises serious due process concerns, particularly with regard to her interrogation and the reluctance of the court to take into account all relevant circumstantial evidence into its judgment.”
According to this UN official, reliable sources said that the victim, Mr. Sarbandi, “arranged to take Ms. Jabbari to his office, but instead took her to a residence where he physically and sexually forced himself upon her. Ms. Jabbari reportedly stabbed Mr. Sarbandi in the shoulder in self-defence, fled for safety, and called for an ambulance out of concern for her alleged attacker.”
After her arrest there was tremendous international outcry about Reyhaneh Jabbari’s show trial, her probable torture and her unjust death sentence.
President Rouhani claimed that his government tried to get her sentence repealed, making the laughable assertion that the Iranian government has no control over the judiciary, but the death sentence held. Further, the victim’s family declined to show mercy to Ms. Jabbari, as allowed for under Iranian law.
Many questions surround Ms. Jabbari’s alleged guilt and the fairness of her trial, but there is no question that the Iranian regime has murdered as many as 967 people since August, 2013, according to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre. That is an astonishing number, second only to China’s judicial death toll and the highest rate per capita in the world.
Ottawa human rights advocate, Shabnam Assadollahi, suggests that Iran is using the rise in executions, persecution and human rights violations for political purposes as it seeks to influence the Obama administration to relieve sanctions and permit concessions to allow Iran to continue acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. Unfortunately, this scenario seems only too plausible.
I am sure all senators will join me in condemning the hanging of Reyhaneh Jabbari, as well Iran’s ongoing judicial brutalization of its citizens.