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The Words of a Mother Whose Daughter May be Executed at Any Time

This is my last post in virtual space. From now on, I will not respond to any message or phone call. I will do nothing. I want nothing … nothing.

Facebook post. Reyhaneh Jabbari’s mother. April 12, 2014


ReyhanehOn April 11, 2014, an Amnesty International Urgent Action reported that, “The death sentence of Iranian woman Reyhaneh Jabbari has been sent to the Office of Implementation of Sentences in Tehran, Iran. Once death sentences have gone to this body, they may be carried out at any time.”

Reyhaneh Jabbari is 26. She has spent the last 7 years of her life in prison for the 2007 murder of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a doctor and former employee of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. Sarbandi had asked Reyhaneh to decorate his office but had, instead, taken her to an empty residential apartment, buying condoms on his way and, possibly, the sleeping medication found in one of the fruit juice glasses on the table.

Reyhaneh confessed to the murder immediately after her arrest and stated that the victim intended to rape her and that she had stabbed him in self-defense. She was held in solitary confinement for two months in Tehran’s Evin Prison, where she did not have access to a lawyer or her family.

“Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi’s association with the Ministry of Intelligence,” said Amnesty International ” may have affected the impartiality of the court’s investigation.”

The court has not accepted Reyhaneh’s version of events and, based on the available information, the investigation’s thoroughness is questionable.  The young woman may be hanged any day now and many unknowns remain. What we do know is that:

– Reyhaneh can be hanged at any time;- in the eyes of Iran’s justice system, an unmarried woman who agrees to go to a meeting with an unrelated man alone is already guilty and is to blame, even if she is the victim of a sexual assault;

– the Ministry of Intelligence routinely influences the decisions of revolutionary courts’ judges;

– the revolutionary courts can decide not to investigate thoroughly the circumstances of a crime nor to question key witnesses without fearing consequence;

– the murder victim’s family now has the life of a young woman in their hands, and they want her dead;

– Reyhaneh has asked her mother to stop trying to save her and to try to enjoy their last phone conversations;

– Reyhaneh’s mom has posted her last message on Facebook on Saturday April 12:

Today is Saturday, and, as planned, I rushed to see her. We did not go to Shahr Rey Prison. I met with her somewhere else. We sat, the four of us, and … we parted with tears. She calmly got into the car and left. … My heart dropped… from the exhaustion of these past days, I thought [to myself]. On the way back, I felt chaos inside of me.

As soon as I got home, she called. As on many other times, she immediately asked: “Is mom home?” The phone in my hand, I told her, “My daughter, I will to do this and that.” She said nothing. I said, “I found something in your file [that might help].” “Mom, let these things go,” she said. She was louder, and I was quiet. She talked without a break, without breathing. She had never spoken to me like this before. She hung-up.  I had lost the strength to hang up the phone. …

I will follow my daughter’s recommendation and, from this moment onward, I will sit and do nothing. I will neither write nor publish anything, either. I wish she had told me, “Mom, [do something], run, hit at every door, be angry, scream, throw yourself out of the window!” But she didn’t. She didn’t ask for anything.

She said, “I am content. I am calm. I am waiting.” She said, “Mom, why do you think that I will die? I will just be further away from you. Imagine that I am on the other side of the world. Imagine that I am in solitary confinement. Cry. Nothing can be done about the emotions of a mother. But don’t exhaust yourself. Don’t get sick. Keep your strength.”

She said, “I was very happy in the 19 years I had. I had everything I wanted. I was blessed with an endless love that many could never have in eighty years.”

She said, “We had an agreement, and you are breaking it with your restlessness.” I asked her, “What can I do? I shouldn’t have agreed to be patient.” She said, “Don’t do this to me. The only thing that makes me restless is the thought of you. Death will be easy for me if you are calm. I will not feel pain, if you don’t say anything. Trying to push doors and breaking walls will do nothing but exhaust you and deprive us from the moments we can use to enjoy talking to each other.” She went on talking, talking. At the end, she asked, or rather ordered, that I do whatever I want until tomorrow. But tomorrow, when she calls, we will only talk about ourselves. We will talk about our hopes and the dreams we had and those we didn’t. We will speak of nothing else.

As recommended by my daughter, my love, … ; she, whose roots go back to my adolescent hopes; she, who I always wanted, even in my childhood games; … she, without whom I want nothing from God, nor from people; she, whom I want to accompany until the very end; … she without whom I am nothing but extra-load on this earth. … This is my last post on the virtual space. From now on, I will not respond to any message or phone call. I will do nothing. I want nothing. Nothing.


Translation by Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation



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