The Case of Afsaneh Nowrouzi

Iran Women Lawmakers Fight to Save Woman

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
.c The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Three female Iranian lawmakers stepped up a campaign to save a woman facing imminent execution for killing an intelligence officer she claimed tried to rape her, they told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Afsaneh Nowrouzi was sentenced to death two years ago for the ``unjustified murder'' of the officer in 1997. The sentence was upheld by
Iran's Supreme Court in August following an appeal.

Death sentences are normally carried out days after the verdict is delivered to the prisoner. Nowrouzi was notified last week.

One of the female legislators, Azam Naseripour, said the group petitioned
Iran's judiciary chief, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, on Saturday to request a new judicial investigation.

Naseripour told The Associated Press the case should be reopened to ``save Nowrouzi from imminent death for legitimate self-defense and protecting her dignity.''

Nowrouzi, who is married, has been in a prison in Bandar Abbas, a port city on the
Persian Gulf, since killing the officer.

The three petitioning lawmakers, Jamileh Kadivar, Tahereh Ramezanzadeh and Naseripour, said Nowrouzi stabbed the officer to protect her dignity.

Naseripour said the execution would humiliate Iranian women who seek to defend their dignity in this male-dominated society.

``If Nowrouzi is executed, women will be afraid to defend themselves against rape and physical assaults,'' she said.'' The execution will have a tremendous negative impact on
Iran's women population.''

London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International and other groups have condemned the verdict and appealed to Iranian authorities to revoke the sentence.
Iran's Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is the only authority able to grant clemency.