Original newspaper article in English
The original article about Nazanin's trial from the Iranian newspaper Etemaad, translated to English by Lily Mazahery.
Yesterday, in branch 71 of criminal court, the 18 year old girl who, while defending herself and her niece (daughter of her brother) murdered a boy by stabbing him with a knife, was tried, and, while crying and pleading with the officials, she said that she did not intend to commit murder. Yesterday, this 18-year-old girl was transferred from Rejaee City prison to the criminal court and sat on the defendant’s seat. At the beginning of the hearing, her court representative attended to her file, and asked the court for justice on her behalf. He explained that, according to the court records, the 18 year-old Nazanin is accused of the following: On day 9 of the month of Esfand, year 83, Nazanin murdered a 23 year old boy by name of Yoosef during a struggle. On that day, Nazanin, along with the 16-year-old daughter of her brother, whose name is Samieh, left her house and, subsequently, along with two boys named Roozbeh and Hamid, went on to have fun by riding motorcycles. While sitting in the corner of a park in Karaj, they were approached by three men they did not know and became involved in some type of a scuffle. During this scuffle, Nazanin stabbed one of the boys who were harassing them several times with a knife, ultimately causing his death. Afterwards, Nazanin was arrested on charges of intentional murder and accepted responsibility for murdering Yoosef, the young male who had been bothering them. After the court representative finished his comments to the court, Chief Judge, Aziz Mohammadi, stated: The mother of the young victim has not appeared in this meeting. However, she has asked this court to sentence Nazanin to death by execution.
Subsequently, Hamid, Samieh’s boyfriend, who was present in the hearing as a witness, told the judge: I have been friends with Samieh (Nazanin’s niece) for a few months. Roozbeh was also friends with Nazanin. On the day of the event, both Roozbeh and I had our motorcycles. Nazanin rode with Roozbeh and Samieh rode with me and we rode around Karaj together for a few hours and then stopped at the corner of a park. In an instant, three young men approached us in a threatening manner and said some horrible things to us. Then, Mohammad, one of those men, attacked us with a rock. Samieh got off of my motorcycle and approached the men to fight them. Roozbeh and I were both scared, so we got on our motorcycles to flee, and just as we got on our bikes, I saw one of the men on the ground bleeding.
At this point, Nazanin, who was sitting on the defendant’s seat, screamed out: Hamid, why are you lying!? Describe the truth! The chief judge ordered Nazanin to be quiet, and restored order to the court. After Hamid’s testimony, Roozbeh, Nazanin’s boyfriend, spoke, stating: At 9:00 o’clock in the morning, me, Nazanin and Samieh and Hamid went out to have fun. We were standing in the corner of the park when, suddenly, three young men approach us in a threatening manner and said: What are you doing here? Then they said some really horrible things to Nazanin and humiliated her. One of the men pulled off Nazanin’s headdress and Monteau (Islamic dress), and that’s when Nazanin stabbed the boy once with a knife and injured him, which ultimately led to his death.
Judge Aziz Mohammadi asked Roozbeh: How long had you known Nazanin? Roozbeh responded: 6 months.
Judge: Had Nazanin run away from home?
Roozbeh: Yes, because her stepmother was cruel to her. That is why Nazanin ran away from home and we would meet each other every few days in a half-built building.
After the two boys’ testimony, Nazanin was found guilty of murder. Judge Aziz Mohammadi, head of branch 71 of the criminal court, told Nazanin: Your crime is the intentional murder of a 23-year-old boy by the name of Yoosef Baagheri. Do you accept this conviction?
Nazanin: I accept the charge of murder. However, please believe that I did not intend to kill him. I was just trying to defend myself and my niece, Samieh. Roozbeh and Hamid have lied! On that day, my niece, Samieh, who is 16, and I left the house to go shopping for our new years dresses. Samieh said: Let’s go hang out with Hamid and Roozbeh and, later, they will give us a ride to the Bazzar. I accepted. Samieh rode in the back of Hamid’s bike and I rode in the back of Roozbeh’s bike and we all went to have fun. We rode around for three hours, and then Roozbeh said: I want to smoke. So we stood in the corner of a park in Karaj. That is when the three men began to harass us. They told Roozbeh that if he’s looking for an empty house, there is a good location in the park. Bring these two girls to that location so we can be with them! Then, another one of the men threw a rock at Hamid’s bike. Then Mahmood, another one of the guys who were harassing us, went to Samieh and tried to take her away with him by force. When I saw that, I went toward Samieh to rescue her from him. At this time, Roozbeh and Hamid got on their bikes and took off. When Samieh and I were left alone, Yoosef, forced me to the ground, and tore up my Monteau so he could rape me. I took out a knife that I had in my pocket and stabbed him once on his hand. Then, I got up, grabbed Samieh’s hand, and tried to run away. But, those guys were not going to leave us alone. Once again, Yoosef grabbed me. There was no one in that empty street to help us. No matter how much we screamed for help, no one came to our rescue. I had no strength left to save myself and my niece from under these guys, so I grabbed the knife again and stabbed Yoosef in the heart. Mr. Judge, please believe that I tried repeatedly to escape, but those guys had trapped us.
The Judge asked Nazanin: Why is it that a few days before this incident you had run away from home?
Nazanin: Mr. Judge, please believe that Roozbeh lied to you! I have never run away from my home.
Judge: During questioning, your father said that it had been 40 days since his daughter, Nazanin, and his grand-daughter, Samieh, had run away from home. They never listen to me. They are not my daughter or granddaughter at all. I am willing to have you kill them!
At this point, Nazanin cried out: THAT IS A LIE! The questioning officer has made all of that up! My father comes to visit me in jail every week.
Judge: Then why is it that he has not show up for his own daughter’s hearing in court today?
Nazanin began to sob uncontrollably, and yelled: I did not want to kill him!! I am not at all a bad-doer. Mr. Judge, what do you want to do with me? I am a girl child! How many times do I have to say that I did this to defend myself and my niece??
Judge: Why were you carrying a knife with you?
Nazanin: For self-defense.
Judge: So every girl should go around, carrying a knife, so she can defend herself?
At this point, the little girl just cried and did not provide an answer to the judge’s question.
Judge: Before getting into a scuffle with those guys, were you ever raped?
Nazanin: No, never.
Judge: Then why is it that the court’s medical examiner has determined that you are not a girl (a virgin)?
Nazanin: THAT IS A LIE!
Judge: Why is it that during this incident, you didn’t find another way of escaping?
Nazanin: I screamed A LOT. No one came to my rescue. I had no choice! I never expected that the man would die!
After Nazanin’s testimony, her attorney began her legal defense. Afterwards, branch 71 of the criminal court, Aziz Mahmadi, Raheemi, Bagheri, Sharifi, Shahrabi Farahani retreated to a closed session to determine this girl’s punishment.
It is not known whether the judges will decide that the actions of this girl, who is a victim herself, amounted to intentional murder or self-defense.
The judge claims that Nazanin's father has told that he does not consider Nazanin his daughter and wish to see her dead. But as you can read in the section with personal info about Nazanin, her father is seriously ill, and was probably not able to travel to the court this day. Also note that when Nazanin learned that her case was sent to the Supreme Court, her father came to visit her in prison. So the claim that he wanted her dead was probably made up, either by the judge himself or another official.
Update: In the first part of Nazanin's re-trial her father did indeed confirm that he had never said such a thing. He requested that the judge looked in the files to see who made these allegations. When they verified their files they agreed that he was right and that no such claims were made.
Under Iran's Islamic legal system, a woman's testimony is worth only half the testimony of a man. That might explain why there is no record of Samieh’s testimony: It would not have made any difference to the court, as her testimony would have been irrelevant.