Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Zahra N.


Age: 40
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: December 19, 2007
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder

About this Case

News of the execution of Ms. Zahra N. (Shirin), a 40 year old hair-dresser, was published on the websites of the E’temad newspaper on September 18, 2007, the Iran newspaper on February 23, 2006 and December 10, 2007, ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) on December 18, 2007, and ISCA News on December 19, 2007.

According to Iran, “the defendant’s three young daughters, who initially wanted her to be punished during her trial, tried to stop her execution two years after the ruling was issued. They asked the Judiciary to stop the execution and asked their grandparents to forgive their mother.* They went to the branch of the Criminal Court of Tehran responsible for carrying out court rulings to request conciliatory sessions in order to appeal to their grandparents’ compassion and ask them to let their mother stay alive.”

Arrest and Detention

There is no specific information on the defendant’s arrest and detention.


The trial took place in Branch 71 of the Criminal Court of Tehran Province.


Ms. Zahra N. was charged with “murder.” According to the reports, she murdered her husband with cyanide on May 7, 2005 because “she had a relationship with another man.”

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.

Evidence of Guilt

The evidence provided against the defendant were her confession and the confession of her collaborator. He stated: “She told me that she wanted to commit suicide in order to avoid her angry husband. But on the night of the incident, she called and asked me to go to her house. I realized that she poured the poison in her husband’s drink and made him drink it. Nevertheless, we took her husband to the hospital but he died a few minutes later” (Iran).


In her defense in the court, Ms. N denied her previous confession. She claimed that she was deceived by a young man who gave her poison to pour into her husband’s food and she did not know the poison was deadly.

International human rights organizations have repeatedly condemned the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for its systematic use of severe torture and solitary confinement to obtain confessions from detainees and have questioned the authenticity of confessions obtained under duress. In the case of political detainees, these confessions are, at times, televised. The National Television broadcasts confessions during which prisoners plead guilty to vague and false charges, repent and renounce their political beliefs, and/or implicate others. Human rights organizations have also pointed to the pattern of retracted confessions by those prisoners who are freed.


The court condemned Ms. Zahra N. to death and the ruling was confirmed by Branch 33 of the Supreme Court. She was hanged in Evin prison on December 19, 2007.

* In the Iranian Penal Code, murder is punishable by execution (retribution), giving the family of the victim the right to consent to the execution sentence or forgive the perpetrator.

Correct/ Complete This Entry