Iran woman on death row for murder to get mercy from family if she tells 'the truth'

 A picture taken on July 8, 2007 shows Iranian Reyhaneh Jabbari standing handcuffed at police headquarters in Teheran after she was arrested for the murder of a former intelligence official. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
 A picture taken on July 8, 2007 shows Iranian Reyhaneh Jabbari standing handcuffed at police headquarters in Teheran after she was arrested for the murder of a former intelligence official. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

TEHERAN (AFP) - An Iranian woman on death row for the murder of a former intelligence official could be forgiven if "she tells the truth", the son of her alleged victim said on Saturday.

Interior designer Reyhaneh Jabbari has been sentenced to death for the 2007 slaying of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, which a United Nations human rights monitor claims was done in self-defence against a potential rapist.

Judiciary officials say there is no date yet for her execution but her lawyer Abdolsamad Khoramshahi warned last week it could be "carried out within a month". Mr Jalal, Sarbandi's eldest son, told Iranian reformist dailies Shargh and Etemad that his family "will not even contemplate mercy until truth is unearthed".

"Only when her true intentions are exposed and she tells the truth about her accomplice and what really went down will we be prepared to grant mercy," he said.

According to Mr Jalal, Jabbari, 26, testified that a man was present in the apartment where his father was stabbed to death "but she refuses to reveal his identity".

His comments come just days after a young Iranian man convicted of murder escaped a hangman's noose in Iran when his victim's mother intervened, slapping him in the face and declaring forgiveness.

The UN says that more than 170 people have been executed in Iran since the beginning of 2014.

Jabbari's case has triggered domestic and international condemnation.

Iranian actors and other prominent figures have launched an appeal against her execution, echoing similar calls being made in the West.

The United Nations and several international rights groups say Jabbari's confession was obtained under intense pressure and threats from Iranian prosecutors.

Mr Ahmed Shaheed, the UN's human rights rapporteur on Iran, said on Monday that her trial had been deeply flawed and apparently acted in self-defence.

"The Iranian authorities should review her case and refer it back to court for a re-trial, ensuring the defendant's right to due process which is guaranteed under both Iranian law and international law," said Mr Shaheed.

He quoted "reliable sources" as saying that the victim, Sarbandi, had offered to hire Jabbari to redesign his office and took her to an apartment where he sexually abused her.

But Mr Jalal Sarbandi insists that his father's murder was premeditated, adding that Jabbari confessed to having bought a knife two days earlier.

"She (also) sent a text message to her boyfriend saying she would kill him," he said.

But Mr Shaheed said that Jabbari only stabbed Sarbandi in the shoulder and had called for an ambulance before fleeing the scene.