Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Footballer's lover hanged for killing wife

A former footballer's mistress was hanged in Iran today after being convicted of murdering the player's wife.

Shahla Jahed was hanged at dawn after spending more than eight years in jail in a case that has captivated the Iranian public.

Jahed had become what is known as a "temporary wife" of former soccer star Nasser Mohammad Khani.

She was charged in 2002 with stabbing Laleh Saharkhizan, the player's wife, to death and convicted of murder in 2004 and again in 2009, after her appeal was denied.

Contracts with "temporary wives" are a legal way for Iranian men to have mistresses outside marriage, with the agreements lasting from between several hours to a few years.

Today's hanging was based on the Islamic law of "qisas" - or eye for an eye retribution.

International human rights groups, including Amnesty International, had campaigned for Jahed's punishment to be halted.

Just before the hanging at Tehran's Evin prison, Jahed, 40, reportedly prayed, then burst into tears and cries, shouting for her life to be spared.

The victim's son pulled a chair from under her feet as Jahed gasped for breath in the remaining moments of her life. Her former lover, Khani, also attended the hanging.

Judiciary officials are reported to have spent almost an hour in talks with Ms Saharkhizan's family before the hanging, trying to convince them to spare Jahed's life, but they were unsuccessful.

Prominent artists and respected cultural figures in Iran also appealed to the victim's family to show mercy.

Under Iranian law, men and women can commit to a "temporary marriage" for an agreed period of time after an amount of money is paid to the woman.

In Iran, men are allowed up to four legal wives and any number of temporary wives. Women can be married to only one man at a time.

Jahed initially denied any involvement in Ms Saharkhizan's killing but later confessed to the stabbing, only to subsequently withdraw the confession. Several Iranian experts have said she may have been wrongfully convicted.

Murder, rape, armed robbery, kidnapping and drug trafficking are crimes punishable with the death penalty in Iran.

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