The former mayor of Tehran escapes the death penalty for the murder of his wife

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Tehran's former mayor, Mohammad Ali Najafi, sentenced to death for the murder of his wife, is expected to escape the death penalty after a move by his in-laws, according to a post released on Wednesday by deceased.

Najafi, 67, was sentenced to death on July 30 for shooting dead his second wife, Mitra Ostad, more than 30 years younger, in Tehran on May 28.

In Iran, families may seek the death penalty as "retribution" for a murder committed against one of their own, under the "qesas" (the "retaliation law"), which had been done by Mitra Ostad's relatives.

But, Wednesday, the deceased's brother, Masood Ostad, said in an Instagram post that the family had decided to forgive Najafi.

The official Irna news agency said the family's lawyer, Mahmoud Hajiloui, confirmed the decision.

In his publication on the social network, Mitra Ostad's brother quotes a verse from the Koran: "God loves those who do good." "My father, my mother and Mahyar (Mitra Ostad's son) are forgiving Mr. Mohammad Ali Najafi" after mediation that involved other people, he wrote.

"We are happy to have reached an agreement without (having to pay) the blood of this honorable person," he added, adding that he hoped that Mr. Najafi "is committed to washing (of his sins)" .

The former mayor of Tehran is still in jail since he was also sentenced to two years in prison for illegal possession of a firearm. It was not immediately clear whether his death sentence would be commuted to prison.

Mr. Najafi's status and the scent of scandal surrounding his second marriage, without his divorcing his first wife, as permitted by law, – while polygamy is poorly perceived in Iranian society – contributed to arouse a great interest in Iran for this case.

Brilliant mathematician and university professor, Mr. Najafi, was economic advisor to President Hassan Rohani and Minister of Education.

He was elected mayor of Tehran in August 2017, but resigned in April 2018 after being criticized by the Conservatives for attending a schoolgirl dance performance.

Some ultraconservatives have ruled that the trial demonstrated the "moral bankruptcy" of reformers, the latter accusing the conservative-dominated public television of covering the case in a biased way for political ends.

14/08/2019 12:43:48 –
Tehran (AFP) –
© 2019 AFP

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