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Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Death Sentence for Self-Defense

Here's an appalling case out of Iran, where a woman faces execution for defending herself and her niece from a gang of attempted rapists. Amnesty International reports:
On 3 January, 18-year-old Nazanin was sentenced to death for murder by a criminal court, after she reportedly admitted stabbing to death one of three men who attempted to rape her and her 16-year-old niece in a park in Karaj in March 2005. She was seventeen at the time. Her sentence is subject to review by the Court of Appeal, and if upheld, to confirmation by the Supreme Court.

According to reports in the Iranian newspaper, E’temaad, Nazanin told the court that three men had approached her and her niece, forced them to the ground and tried to rape them. Seeking to defend her niece and herself, Nazanin stabbed one man in the hand with a knife that she possessed and then, when the men continued to pursue them, stabbed another of the men in the chest. She reportedly told the court “I wanted to defend myself and my niece. I did not want to kill that boy. At the heat of the moment I did not know what to do because no one came to our help”, but was nevertheless sentenced to death.

(entire statement here, link via The Volokh Conspiracy)

Go here to sign an on-line petition to save Nazanin.

Unlike Iran, we in the United States would never sentence a person to death for an act of self-defense. Oh, wait...


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