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Nazanin Fatehi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Nazanin (Mahabad) Fatehi (Persian: نازنین فاتحی) is a 19-year old Kurdish Iranian girl who has been sentenced to death for stabbing a man who she claims tried to rape her and her 15 year old niece (Nazanin was 17 at the time).



On January 3, 2006, Nazanin was sentenced to death for murder by a criminal court of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Court of Appeal will review her sentence, and if upheld there, it must be confirmed by the Supreme Court, before she can be executed.

According to Nazanin, as reported in the Iranian daily Etemaad [1] then 17-year-old Nazanin and her 15 year old niece (Sumayeh) were in a park in Karaj, west of Tehran with their boyfriends, when three men started harassing them. The girls' boyfriends fled from the scene, leaving them helpless behind. The men pushed Nazanin and her niece down on the ground and tried to rape them, and to protect herself, she took out a knife from her pocket and stabbed one of the men in the hand.

According to Nazanin, the girls tried to escape, but the men overtook them, and at this point Nazanin stabbed one of the other men in the chest, which eventually killed him. According to the accounting of the court in the Etemaad newspaper, when the judge asked her why her father had not attended the hearing, she sobbed uncontrollably and yelled at the judge: "I did not want to kill him!! I am not at all a bad-doer. Mr. Judge, what do you want to do with me? I am a girl child! How many times do I have to say that I did this to defend myself and my niece??" The final court verdict was death sentence by hanging. [2] [3] [4]

Based on the original Etemaad story, one of the boyfriends recall the story as : "In an instant, three young men approached us in a threatening manner and said some horrible things to us. Then, Mohammad, one of those men, attacked us with a rock. Samieh got off of my motorcycle and approached the men to fight them. Roozbeh and I were both scared, so we got on our motorcycles to flee, and just as we got on our bikes, I saw one of the men on the ground bleeding." No source has reported what independent witnesses said about the encounter. An unknown political group, the Friends of Humanity organization alleges the victim was a member of an Iranian police force: "The attackers were all members of the suppressive paramilitary Bassij force in the city of Karaj." [5]. The Etemaad story also reports that at the time of the attack, Nazanin was a runaway who was disowned by her family. However in a phone interview Nazanin's mother shows much concerns about her daughter's fate and clearly pleads for her daughter's life while crying [11]. In the same interview, Nazanin's mother confirmed that she asked the victim's mother for pardon, but the alleged rapist's mother refused.


As Nazanin has claimed that she only acted in self-defense, critics have pointed out that in another country she might be acquitted or receive only a short prison sentence. Iran also has a young age of eligibility for the death penalty - 15 years for males, and 9 for females. [6].

Amnesty International is also lobbying for Nazanin. [7]. "I think cases like this are illustrative of the fact there is a serious human rights crisis in Iran; the death penalty, discrimination against women and a whole host of other concerns. It really is time for the international community to put those issues right at the top of the agenda." ," said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. In another public statement, On May 19, 2006 Amnesty International again addressed its concern about Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi case. [12]

Former Iranian Miss World Canada 2003, and musician Nazanin Afshin-Jam, trying to save her namesake's life initiated the "Save Nazanin Campaign" and has started a petition which has attracted more than 232,500 signatures worldwide as of January 2007.( # of signatures gathered to date) [8]. CNN 4/13/2006 REPORT on NAZANIN

Negar Azmudeh, a Vancouver-based immigration lawyer, has also taken up Nazaninís cause, alleging that this case demonstrates the unjust treatment of women in Iran. Azmudeh told CTV (Canadian Television)[9] that had Nazanin been killed by a man, he would likely not have received a death sentence: "Because the value of his life would be twice as much as Nazanin's."

Appeal to the Iranian Supreme Court, United Nations and Canadian parliament

On May 17 2006, Nazanin Afshin-Jam published a press release saying that Nazanin's case was scheduled to be reviewed by the Iranian Supreme Court the next week. [10]. The cover letter to the petition is directed at Mr. Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations. Following a meeting with United Nations by Nazanin Afshin-Jam, UN high commissioner Louise Arbour contacted Iranian government regarding Nazanin Fatehi's case. [13]. Miss Afshin-Jam also addressed the Canadian parliament members regrading the matter in June 5, 2006 and MP Belinda Stronach rose in the Canadian House of Commons during Question Period to ask the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter MacKay to confirm that he had received assurances from the Iranian embassy that a new trial was ordered for Nazanin Fatehi.[14][15]

First Interview with Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi

In her first public interview in May 2006, Nazanin Fatehi replied to a questionnaire that was sent to her by Nazanin Afshin-Jam [16].

Nazanin's Death Sentence was commuted

According to Iranian Newspaper Hamshahri and by order of superior court of Islamic republic the death sentence of Nazanin was overturned subject to payment of dieh (blood money) to the family of the alleged rapist killed. [17]. However she was placed in solitary confinement for nearly a month. Her re-trial is set for end of August 2006.[18][19]

Re-trial court ended - No verdicts yet

August 30, 2006 was Nazanin Fatehi's retrial; however no verdict has been announced.

The trial was supposed to start at 10:30 AM but there was a half hour delay. The trial lasted until 12:30 PM with a short break in between. The alleged rapist's family were not present. Nazanin was present with her family and three lawyers.

We have been informed that during her 20 minute testimony she was very brave and defended herself very well. She told the Judge that she has been honest from the very beginning. She extended her arm out to the Judge and said that it was she herself that came forward and gave the knife to the police at the scene of the offence and told them that she stabbed the man in self defence to protect her honour. She directly asked the Judge what he would have done faced with three attackers. He did not have an answer.

Nazanin's mother Maryam spoke during the trial and showed her discontent with how the officials had made Nazanin sign her own death sentence a few months back. She told them that Nazanin has no education and that she could not read or understand the papers they made her sign. She was asked to leave the court, she was crying a lot during and after Nazanin's trial. Nazanin's father stood up and told the courts that he had something to say. He said that it had been announced in many newspapers that Nazanin was a run-away and that he had told the Judges to go ahead with the execution. He told the Judge that he had never made such claims and that it was important for this information to be cleared for the sake of his family. The Judge said that these claims were written in their reports. Nazanin's father requested the Judge look in the files and see who made such allegations. When they verified their file they agreed that he was right and that no such claims were made.

No judgement had been made and they announced that another court date would be set.[20][21]. According to Etemaad newspaper's report of the re-trial, Samieh Nazanin's niece also testified in her favor. [22][23]. Nazanin's re-trial is scheduled for January 10, 2007.[24].

Nazanin Afshin-Jam made a video appeal to Iranian Officials only 5 days to the re-trial.[25]. She also released a documentary titled "The Tale of Two Nazanins". It features Nazanin's family in Iran and an emotional phone conversation with Nazanin Fatehi from her prison. [26]


  1. ^ Etemaad article. [1] via
  2. ^ Iran to hang teenage girl attacked by rapists (January 7, 2006). [2] via
  3. ^ Iranian woman to hang (January 7, 2006). [3] via
  4. ^ Iran to hang woman who killed in 'self-defense' (January 8, 2006). [4] via
  5. ^ Attackers allegedly members of Bassij paramilitary. (January 8, 2006) [5] via
  6. ^ TAKING A STAND: Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Former Miss World Canada 2003, Struggles To Save Iranian Compatriot From Execution (April 27, 2006). [6] via
  7. ^ Iran: Amnesty International calls for end to death penalty for child offenders. (January 16, 2006) [7] via
  8. ^ Beautiful, Brainy and Passionate about Iran. (April 10, 2006) [8] via
  9. ^ Former Miss Cda defends Iranian on death row. (April 10, 2006) [9] via CTV
  10. ^ Bodog Music Recording Artist Nazanin Afshin-Jam Pleas to World Media, Kofi Annan and the UN to Save the Life of Another Nazanin in Iran. (May 17, 2006) [10]


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