Iran executed by hanging the
mistress of one of its most famous soccer stars after she was convicted of
murdering the man’s wife eight years ago.
Shahla Jahed, 40, went to the
gallows at Tehran’s Evin Prison, where she had spent the past eight years
Her hanging went ahead after the
victim’s family refused to agree to any delay to resolve legal challenges.
The murdered woman’s son was the
one who pulled a chair out from under Jahed’s feet, leaving her gasping for air
in her last moments of life.
Moments earlier, Jahed mumbled a Muslim prayer
and then burst into tears, pleading for her life to be spared.
At first, Jahed confessed to
stabbing soccer star Nasser Mohammad Khani’s wife, Laleh Saharkhizan, in 2002.
The couple was separated at the time, and Khani was living with Jahed under a
sigheh, or temporary marriage, which is allowed under Iran’s official form of
But she later retracted the
confession during her public trial, saying it had been extracted in prison and
Khani also fell under initial suspicion as
well, that he may have helped to plot his wife’s murder or encouraged Jahed to
He spent several months in prison
but was cleared after authorities announced that Jahed had confessed to the
Khani was Iran’s top soccer star in
the 1980s and later became a coach for Tehran’s Persepolis club.
He’s one of the country’s most beloved sports
icons. Despite initial allegations that Khani may have been partly to blame for
his wife’s killing, many Iranians blamed Jahed instead.
Khani joined Saharkhizan’s
relatives inside the prison execution chamber to witness Jahed’s hanging.
The execution caps a
legal battle by Jahed and her lawyers, who’d lobbied for a delay in her
execution and a new trial. Her case, mixing lovers’ jealousy, fame and one of
the country’s most revered sports stars captured the curiosity of millions of
Iranians over the years.