IT WAS exactly 6am and the start of another blisteringly hot summer day when 16-year-old Atefeh Rajabi was dragged from her prison cell and taken to be executed.
Every step of the way the troubled teenager plagued by mental problems shouted “repentance, repentance” as the militiamen marched her to the town’s Railway Square.
The Iranian judge who had sentenced Atefeh to death was left unmoved as he personally put the noose around her neck and signalled to the crane driver.
Kicking and screaming, Atefeh was left dangling for 45 minutes from the arm of the crane as the crowd sobbed and – under their breath – damned the mullahs.
Atefeh’s crime? Offending public morality. She was found guilty of “acts incompatible with chastity” by having sex with an unmarried man, even though friends say Atefeh was in such a fragile mental state that she wasn’t in a position to say no.
But Judge Haji Rezaii was determined she should hang, regardless of the rules of international law which say only adults over 18 can be executed, and that the courts have a duty to children and the mentally ill.
It was when Atefeh appeared before Judge Rezaii for a fourth time that she lost her temper – and also her life. In a rage she tore off her hi jab – a headscarf – and told the judge she had been raped and it was his duty to punish her tormentors, not their victim.
Rezaii told her she would hang for her “sharp tongue” and that he would put the noose around her neck himself. It became a personal crusade as he travelled to Tehran and convinced the Supreme Court to uphold his verdict.
PENALTIES imposed by Iran’s religious mullahs include:
THEFT: Amputation of hands or feet for persistent offenders.
ADULTERY: Death by stoning.
UNMARRIED SEX: 100 lashes.
CONVERSION TO RELIGION OTHER THAN ISLAM: Death.
SODOMY: Death for adults, 74 lashes for consenting child.
LESBIANISM: 100 lashes, or on the fourth occasion death.
HOMOSEXUAL KISS: 60 lashes.
RUBBING ANOTHER MAN’S THIGHS OR BUTTOCKS: 99 lashes – on 4th occasion, death.
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