Delara Darabi, the young artist who has been on death row for the last 5 years in Rasht prison may not have much longer to live. According to her lawyer Abdolsamad Khoramshahi who was recently interviewed by Rooz online, said that soon after the Persian New Year, he had a phone conversation with Delara who relayed to him that there were rumours in prison that she was going to soon be executed soon.
Mr. Khoramshahi said that his client has reason to be worried because her file has gone beyond any kind of legal recourse and that the only option is for the family of the victim pardon her. He said that one of the children of the victim has neither approved nor disapproved her execution. Because the Judiciary has already approved her execution, once the family of the victim also approve , Delara’s execution will be carried out.
Mr. Khoramshahi explained in the interview that out of deep love for the man that committed the crime, Delara took the blame in the first trial and had confessed to the murder of her father’s cousin. He said that she even went so far as justifying that she was capable of such a crime because she was an athlete and was strong in Karate.
Later, when she understood that juveniles still face the death penalty for such crimes, she retracted her statement. By then it was too late and the court did not accept the retraction. Later, Mr. Khoramshahi had noticed that his client was left handed and the autopsy of the victim had revealed that the stab wounds were committed by a right handed person.
Khoramshahi said that the Judge overlooking the case said that if it was proven that Delara was left handed, the direction of the file would change course. However, even with the evidence required to prove this fact and further evidence from the Ministry of Education that Delara had never partaken in sports teams or Karate, Delara was not absolved of her alleged crime.
Branch 107 (juvenile court) confirmed her execution in her second trial and yet again in Branch 33 of the Supreme Court. Khoramshahi said that at this stage it is too late to try and repeat the same evidence over and over again. He said that they have gone beyond what can be done legally and that despite his many complaints regarding Delara’s file and new evidence, he has not had any responses come back; nor has there been any efforts from the courts to discover the reality behind her case.
He said “She is on the verge of execution and no legal institute can save her, unless the victim will forgive her”. He emphasized the fact that a lawyer’s responsibility is to defend the case in a “legal” court, but that he has to go beyond his duty. He said he is confident in his client’s innocence and is pleading with the family of the victim to forgive her execution.
He said: “She has spent her whole life around art and painting and the biggest mistake of her life was falling in love with a boy, which has lead to this outcome. Has she not suffered enough having spent the best days of her youth behind bars and experienced the worse physical and emotional pain?”
After three years in prison, Delara’s art was exhibited in Golestan Gallery in Tehran through the help of a prominent journalist and activist Asieh Amini. The paintings were the result of the loneliness she suffered in prison. It brought many people to the Golestan gallery. The exhibition drew a large crowd; however the fame of this artist, who grew up her whole life surrounded by paintbrushes, could not save her.
She had written a welcome letter to the viewers of her exhibition:
“I have been circling around myself in prison for the last 3 years wondering how I have ended up here in prison. I’m not looking for empathy or forgiveness from anyone except from my God. I have come to accept that if I am to be released it will not be because of my three years fighting to prove my innocence but rather as a result of forgiveness.
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