As reports circulated Tuesday that Iran was preparing to execute a 27-year-old Kurdish activist, the campaign to save her life intensified, with a prominent opposition figure publicly urging the authorities to show compassion.
“Does she deserve her punishment or is it better to give everyone, especially women and the youth, an opportunity to find their position in life, and in political and social establishment?” said a statement released by Zahra Rahnavard, a distinguished professor and artist who is married to the opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi.
The activist, Zeinab Jalalian, was arrested in May 2008 in the Kuridsh city of Kermanshah and accused of having ties to a Kurdish rebel group, PJAK, which has carried out armed attacks in Iran. She was convicted of moharebeh, meaning waging war against God, and the death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court.
Human rights and opposition Web sites have circulated reports that her execution may be imminent. A Tehran lawyer who is blocked from formally representing her said by telephone that she faced “death any minute.”