The following is a short update on the case of Reyhaneh Jabbari, which, regardless of whether you agree she should be executed or not, the English-speaking world is being given a distorted picture of.
Reyhaneh Jabbari, who was sentenced to death for murder by five judges, was supposed to be executed on September 30. The execution was delayed for 10 days, until October 10, however, in order to give Jabbari another opportunity to get her victim’s family’s consent to let her off the death penalty. She was not executed on October 10 either, though, a fact that has been met with peculiar silence.
The media frenzy over this case started in April and has gone through four telling phases. In phase one, the media adamantly stated that Jabbari defended herself from rape, with some reports going so far as to claim that she was a rape victim. Campaigns to save her from the death penalty began, and the news outraged the public. After facts shined light on the outright lies of the media and women’s groups, in phase two, the media still narrated the story in the same way, except now some claimed that this time “she saw rape to be imminent” or “she felt she was going to be raped.” Phase three occurred in the 10-day period when only the victim’s family’s consent could have released Jabbari from the death penalty. Since the family officially and publicly stated that the reason they would not consent was because of the level of lies against their loved one, most of the media shows during this period did not mention the alleged rape at all and only focused on forgiveness.
Phase four is happening right now: a gigantic silence about the fact that Jabbari has not been executed despite the fact that the victim’s family has not given their consent to release her from the death penalty. Technically, nobody in the world except the victim’s family could have removed the death sentence, but Iran has bowed to domestic and international pressure.
Months ago, when the Entekhab interview of the judge on this case was released on khabaronline.com, one commenter had this to say:
I wish I were a woman, then even if I committed murder, people would protest for my acquittal and would call me a victim, and then everyone would say it is a patriarchy.
To which another responded:
Exactly, she would have been executed ten times by now, had she been a man.
What continues to astound is how few in the English-speaking media will tell this part of the story, which is otherwise well-known and understood in Iran.
The question we should all still be asking: why is no one in the Western media discussing the fact that the evidence for a rape was nonexistent, and that had she asked the family for forgiveness she would likely not have been facing the death penalty?