IRAN: WOMAN SENTENCED TO DEATH BASED SOLELY ON QASAMEH
April 10, 2019: A woman suspected of murdering her husband was sentenced to death in Iran based solely on Qasameh, the state-run ISNA news agency reported on 8 April 2019.
Citing that the case has “procedural and substantive” defects, the woman’s attorney Abdulsamad Khorramshahi who was cited by ISNA said they have submitted an appeal and the case will be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
According to the report, Khorramshahi had previously said about the case that his client was accused of having fatally poisoned her husband and child but there was no evidence to prove the acusations.
Khorramshahi said on 30 January 2019 that a forensics report showed that the woman’s husband and child were poisoned but it did not specify the type of poison and the poisoning may be due to gas leakage.
The lawyer has stated that his client has denied all the accusations. Furtheremore, there is no solid evidence that proves her guilt.
At the request of the victims’ relatives, the woman was sentenced to death based on Qasameh (proof of a criminal case by the means of swearing) despite the lack of evidence against her.
Qasameh is one way, within the Islamic jurisprudence and criminal law in Iran, to prove crimes related to murder and physical injuries when there is no enough evidence against the suspect.
The relatives of a plaintiff must bring 50 relatives to the court to swear an oath that the defendant is guilty. Otherwise, the defendant must swear an oath and plead not guilty 50 times in order to have her charges dropped.
The people who swear in Qasameh are not usually direct witnesses to the crime.
Qasameh appears to be a weak way to prove a crime, yet it continues to be used in the Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) and criminal law. (Sources: iran-hrm.com, 10/04/2019)