Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations, as well as many Western nations, condemned Jabbari’s execution and lobbied hard for it to be called off.
“There were serious procedural issues related to due process in the handling of her case, including Jabbari’s arrest, her access and denial to a lawyer and being unable to see her family,” says Faraz Sanei, the Iran researcher for the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. “The period after someone is first detained and interrogated is when they are most vulnerable to ill-treatment, including psychological and physical abuse and coerced confessions, which happens a lot in Iran.”
Iran is one of a handful of countries that criminalize consensual relationships outside of marriage. Adultery, for instance, is still punishable by stoning in Iran. This is also the case in Afghanistan.
In the 2012 Human Rights Watch report I Had to Run Away, it was estimated that 400 girls and women were imprisoned in Afghanistan for so-called moral crimes, such as running away from an unlawful marriage and zina, which is sex outside of marriage (including being raped or being sold into prostitution). “These systems that criminalize moral crimes are more problematic for women because there is more stigma attached to them,” says Sanei. “It makes it much more difficult for girls and women who are sexually assaulted to defend themselves and then come forward. There is a perception both in the judiciary and in public opinion that they were doing something wrong.”