Ex-Tehran mayor sentenced to death over wife's murder in Iran

Mohammad Ali Najafi, an Iranian reformist and an economic adviser to President Rouhani, plans to appeal verdict.

    Najafi was elected Tehran mayor in August 2017, but resigned the eight months later [Meghdad Madadi/AFP]
    Najafi was elected Tehran mayor in August 2017, but resigned the eight months later [Meghdad Madadi/AFP]

    A former mayor of the Iranian capital has been sentenced to death after he a court found him guilty of killing his wife, according to Iran's judiciary. 

    Former Tehran mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi was convicted of murdering his second wife, Mitra Ostad, in May, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili announced late on Tuesday, in a case that received extensive media coverage.

    "The charge sheet included premeditated murder, battery and possession of an illegal firearm," Esmaili said, quoted by the judiciary's official news agency Mizan Online.


    "The court has established premeditated murder and passed the execution sentence," he added.

    Najafi was acquitted of the battery charge but received a two-year jail sentence for possessing the illegal firearm, the spokesman said without elaborating.

    "The sentence is not yet final and can be appealed at the supreme court," Esmaili added.

    The details of the case have yet to be confirmed, but according to Iranian media reports, the victim's body was found in a bathtub after Najafi, 67, turned himself in and confessed to killing her.

    Najafi married Ostad without divorcing his first wife, unusual in Iran where polygamy is legal but socially frowned upon.

    According to Islamic law, the victim's family has the right to exercise "retribution" by demanding the death penalty for the perpetrator, but they could also renounce this right.

    Najafi's lawyer wants to appeal the verdict.

    The high-profile trial of the 67-year-old politician, who serves as an economic adviser to President Hassan Rouhani, has dominated public debate in Iran for several weeks.

    Najafi, a reformist, mathematician and professor, also served as science and education minister in the past.

    He was elected Tehran mayor in August 2017 but resigned the following April after facing criticism from conservatives for attending a dance performed by schoolgirls.

    SOURCE: News agencies