Reyhaneh Jabbari lives on – even today

Published: November 6, 2014

Through my soul, my spirit, I live on. Through their sins and injustice dealt to me, I live on. I live on. PHOTO: ‘Save Reyhaneh Jabbari From Execution In Iran’ Facebook page

“The world allowed me to live for 19 years. That ominous night it was I that should have been killed. My body would have been thrown in some corner of the city, and after a few days, the police would have taken you to the coroner’s office to identify my body and there you would also learn that I had been raped as well. The murderer would have never been found since we don’t have their wealth and their power. Then you would have continued your life suffering and ashamed, and a few years later you would have died of this suffering and that would have been that.

And so I meet my eternal Lord. I, Reyhaneh Jabbari, am dead. But my legacy continues to live. For it is a living stain on those who dismissed me, for the judicial system that so prodigiously accused me of something I was not fully guilty of. True, I had stabbed a man – but when does self-defence become murder? When does killing a man, who tries to rape you, become a heinous crime?

This world is a sad place for women. I know what they say; I know they say I am guilty. I know they say I planned the murder. I know they say that I had bought the knife beforehand and that I stabbed him in the back. I know they say I was acquainted with the man and had gone to his office quite willingly. What they don’t, however, say is that my assailant was carrying a packet of condoms with him. They also don’t say that there was a drink with sedatives inside his house. No, they don’t say that.

According to their version of the truth, I had pre-planned my own destruction! How amusing it is to pre-plan the murder of a man who is in the Iranian Intelligence and how prudent it is to murder a man while I live in a patriarchal, misogynistic world. By saying that I went to the office willingly, they conclude that I consented. By saying that I stabbed him in the back, they say I killed in cold blood.

This world is a dark place for women.

I was interrogated and cross questioned and accused, but my part of the story was never given proper consideration. How many times has it been that victims of sexual assaults have been blamed for their fates?

Not seldom, I am certain.

She wore short skirts, she was out at night, she wasn’t wearing a head scarf, and the list goes on. Nobody in their right mind would even dare to blame the he’s. Seven years I spent in that cold, dark place. Seven years I went to sleep every night, not sure if I would live to see another year, another day. Seven years I waited for justice to come my way and it never came.

But death came. It came at last, and it was not menacing, it was not dark. It was, instead, a welcome transition. Now I can finally go and meet the eternal One, to whom we all belong. I want to question Him, to demand justice from Him and I know justice shall be served, at last. The courts of this world may accuse me and exterminate me, but in His court, they will pay. And true justice shall prevail. I have waited seven long years and I will wait more for justice to come.

And then I turn my head towards those who blame my religion for my misfortunes. Certainly, this world is as spiteful as it is misogynistic. They say this is how Islam treats women. They say this is a woman’s worth in Islam. Fie, I never stopped believing in Him and I embrace the awaiting orbs of death with concrete faith in Him. It was not His laws that did me wrong, it was the law of His creation. And not just laws, but their mammoth egos that wouldn’t let them accept the fact that a respectable man could attempt to rape a woman. And then, there was the audacity the woman showed, she stabbed him! No, no, no. That was not acceptable at all, to empower women and to equip them with the power to say no and to be the master of their own will is certainly not on their bucket lists. Women are supposed to be submissive, receptive, and inferior.

It amuses me to think that I belong to the same place Artemesia once belonged. That daring, audacious, challenging bravado of hers is to be seen no more in women who belong to this holy land because they have been warned – this is what will happen if you come out or react to acts of injustice.

Aren’t women told to keep silent when they are ogled at, harassed, teased, assaulted, groped, or raped? Aren’t women told to dismiss and ignore men who trouble them?

Aren’t women told to accept their destinies because of their gender roles?

I might be dead but, as the judiciary fails to realise, their attempt to tarnish my reputation and culminate my life has ended horribly, I am bound to live on forever. The world shall forever know who Reyhaneh Jabbari was. And though some may blame and accuse me, there are some who believe me. I am no different from all those victims who are blamed for rape.

Before I go, I will donate my organs to those who need them; it is a far, far better thing to do, than I have ever done and this is far, far better rest I get, than I have ever known. And through them, I hope to remind my assailant that I live on. Through my soul, my spirit, I live on. Through their sins and injustice dealt to me, I live on. I live on.

‘You know better that death is not the end of life.’

Noor Us Sabah Tauqeer

Noor Us Sabah Tauqeer

She is studying at the Department of English and doing a diploma in French, both from the University of Karachi. She's a writer and an orator, who tweets as @the_nust (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Queen

    Excellent. I wonder when the judiciary and the law and order system present in our part of the world will rise from its deep slumber to address issues like rape and adultery. I wonder if ever the so-called Moulvis will really really understand the true teachings of Islam rather than contorting Islam and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) teachings to suit their will. I wonder if it will ever happen that a woman, belonging to any religion, culture, or nationality, will get justice in cases of rape. I wonder if the males in the male-dominated societies will ever stand against injustice meted out to women. I wonder…..Recommend

  • Sad

    The world is indeed a dark place for minorities,women,children, the old,the ill & the poor. Only in the western countries are all people treated as humans. About the worth of women-am I wrong that in a shariah court,a woman’s testimony is considered only half as worthy as a man’s testimony ? Thus two women have to testify to count equal to a man’s testimony ..Recommend

  • Gladiator

    I wonder when people become so assertive and complain religion for being unequal…Do you think a woman has same strength as a man? If so they should have been historically fighting battles…but we don’t see so and overwhelming majority of men has been fighting in wars….The point I am trying to make is that woman has many distinguished features than of a man and one important is ability to face pressures….. Think of a woman in a court and how much she would be under pressure and at the same time think of a another lady standing by her how much relieved would she be….Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    I followed her trail very closely. I was hoping so much for a last minute acquittal that when I heard about the verdict I was really shocked. I cannot imagine how coldhearted and monstrous the ones who convicted her are. I wish their sleep is forever is haunted by her.Recommend

  • abhi

    you made my day dear Gladiator!Recommend

  • sterry

    And people wonder why Iran is so despised in the West. It is the barbaric applications of laws by imperfect men which makes people in the West dislike Arabs and Iranians so much. I know in the US I always pointed out I was Pakistani so people would not confuse me with the culture of Iranians or Arabs who are disliked more than other Muslims.Recommend

  • ak

    Well I don’t know which shariah law are u talking about but the islamic shariah that the Prophet Muhammad(P.B.U.H) left behind gave women more rights than men. It is truly our fault that we don’t have enough knowledge of our religion and then whenever something wrong happens we put the blame on the so called “mullahs”. The people in our society do stuff that is totally opposite to what our religion teaches us. I don’t mean to offend you in any way but brother learn about your beautiful religion and then see the people around u. I hope u will find a difference.Recommend

  • Azan Saeed

    An excellent article articulates the very basis of injustice being done to this lady.I read that letter which she wrote to her mother and it really moved me.In fact i had tears in my eyes.Apart from this debate whether she murdered in self defence or did it willfully; Whether she lived in the misogynist world or not; Whether she became the victim of poor judicial system or not;I was shocked to see that We who once known for their tolerance and forgiveness now proudly known as vindictive beings.Imagine for a second that this lady killed intelligence officer in cold blood,Dont we believe in the life hereafter?She served seven years in jail and her mother continously implored to the victims family to forgive her daughter.Why We as UMMAH forget that forgiveness in one of the greatest attributes of a Muslim?Why we forget that our History is full with incidences when our Muslim brothers forgave other Muslims for killing their near ones? This is happening to us because we forget the true essence of Islam which stands for forgiveness.I dont say that a killer should get free or exonerate from his crime but if we forgive each other it may helps us to avoid such embarrasments.Recommend

  • Sad

    No offence taken at all. I was just asking for a clarification of something I read to that effect,recently- the half-worth as a witness thing..Recommend

  • Sad

    Im not complaining…just asking.Your reply is a bit ambiguous..what if she doesn’t have a second woman to support her statement in court …then she can be contradicted by a single male witness who says that she is lying ?Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    yes you are absolutely right that two women are required in court according to Islam. But the reason given in the Holy Quran is quite simple; if one women forgets the other can remind her. However when talking about testimony of men the Islamic injunction is that if their testimony is not accurate then they should be punished. So you see women are being given respect here and they are allowed leeway.
    P.S I have read a great deal about treatment of women in East and west and if you study the facts you will see that women in Islam are treated better than in west. They are allowed to be heirs while no other religion allows this, they are given great respect and dignity. the problem is that these days extremists and their educated pseudo extremist backers have twisted Islam to get their own nefarious ends. this has lead to persecution of women.Recommend

  • siesmann

    What a logic!!!!Recommend

  • siesmann

    “forget the true essence of Islam”-the typical excuse for all the ills in society.Recommend

  • siesmann

    Well,Pakistan has caught up with Iran/SA in the last few years;And US/West/World knows about it.BTW you hardly ever hear about a terrorist being a Shia.Recommend

  • siesmann

    Not a chance.They will sleep as comfortably.Recommend

  • abhi

    You reply doesn’t contain any reference to back your claim. Can you list at least few points where woman have got more rights than man according to “true” islamic law?Recommend

  • abhi

    Another instance of despot rulers using “Islamic” laws to suppress the population. This has been happening quite some time now. The poor illitrate population of these islamic countries accepts any law if they have “Islamic” or “Sharia” prefixed to it. Till the time people start using their logic, they will fall pray of these schemes.Recommend

  • Thinker

    Is it fair to imply that only women have memory problems & need another female to bolster her half value testimonial to be equivalent to a male ? Why can’t the male witness,have memory problems & require another male to double the value of his testimonial ? (It’s unfair like the hindu caste system of inherited untouchability)
    Kudos on the ladies inheritance laws…but not on the 50% value as a witness,compared to males.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    I am sorry for being vague, let me explain. The implication is not that a women will have memory problems, rather the surmise is that a women should not have to face the indignity of punishments, therefore every step is taken to make sure that she never faces the punishments which are meted out for perjury. The obvious step is to make another women come along so that they can corroborate each others testimony.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    I am sorry for being vague, let me explain. The implication is not that a women will have memory problems, rather the surmise is that a women should not have to face the indignity of punishments, therefore every step is taken to make sure that she never faces the punishments which are meted out for perjury. The obvious step is to make another women come along so that they can corroborate each others testimony.Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)

    Blame the Judicial System which is a Slave to the Powerful.Recommend