Family spares ex-Tehran mayor facing death over wife’s murder

Najafi was convicted of killing his wife on May 28 at their home in Tehran. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 August 2019

Family spares ex-Tehran mayor facing death over wife’s murder

  • The mayor was convicted of shooting his wife
  • Najafi received a two-year jail sentence for illegal possession of a firearm

TEHRAN: A former mayor of Tehran sentenced to death over the murder of his wife has been spared by her family in a post shared on Instagram on Wednesday.
Mohammad Ali Najafi, 67, was sentenced to death last month after being convicted of shooting dead his second wife Mitra Ostad at their home in the Iranian capital on May 28.
Ostad’s family had appealed for the Islamic law of retribution to be applied — an “eye for an eye” form of punishment which would have seen the death penalty served.
But her brother Masood Ostad said the family had decided to grant him a reprieve, according to a post on his private Instagram account cited by various media outlets.
State news agency IRNA said a lawyer for the family, Mahmoud Hajjiloui, had confirmed the reprieve.
In his Instagram post, the brother cited a verse from the Qur'an that says: “Allah loves the doers of good.”
“My father, my mother and our Mahyar (his sister’s son) forgive Mr.Mohammad Ali Najafi” after mediation that involved others, he wrote.
“We are happy that we made no deal for the blood of that honorable (person),” he added, referring to retribution for his sister’s murder.
“We hope Mr. Mohammad Ali Najafi in his remaining years... engages in cleansing himself.”
Najafi remains behind bars after also receiving a two-year jail sentence for illegal possession of a firearm, but it was not immediately known if he still has to serve time for murder.
The former mayor’s trial received detailed coverage in state media where scandals related to politicians rarely appear on television.
A mathematician, professor and veteran politician, Najafi had previously served as President Hassan Rouhani’s economic adviser and education minister.
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.
Najafi married Ostad without divorcing his first wife, unusual in Iran where polygamy is legal but socially frowned upon.
Some of Iran’s ultra-conservatives said the case showed the “moral bankruptcy” of reformists, while reformists accused the conservative-dominated state television of bias in its coverage and highlighting the case for political ends.


Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

Updated 18 August 2019

Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

  • Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa

AMMAN: Jordan has stepped up its diplomatic pressure on Israel, demanding that they do not change the status quo at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Zaid Lozi, director-general of Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, summoned Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Amir Weissbrod to protest Israel’s actions in Jerusalem.

According to Petra News, Lozi told the envoy that recent remarks by Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Ardan over changing the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque are unacceptable. Lozi added that the mosque is a place of worship for Muslims only.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi addressed a group of EU ambassadors in Amman and “stressed the urgency of effective international steps against Israel’s violations of Holy Sites in occupied Jerusalem.”

Safadi told Arab News that the situation in Jerusalem is challenging and must be addressed. He said that he will present a detailed report on Jordan’s position to Parliament on Monday.

The ministry denounced the Israeli authorities’ closure of the mosque’s gates and demanded that Israel respects its obligations in accordance with international humanitarian law.

HIGHLIGHT

• Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Hatem Abdel Qader, a member of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, told Arab News that Israeli authorities had been attempting to enforce major changes at the mosque.

“Security forces barged into the mosque yesterday. They went to the Bab Al-Rahmeh Mosque where they confiscated carpets and the closet where shoes are kept.”

Jordan’s diplomatic statements follow comments by Ardan, who said that Israel is disappointed with the current state of affairs at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

According to Israeli officials, the mosque area is sovereign Israeli territory, despite it being administered by Jordan. Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Qader said that Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa.

“There appears to have been a gradual deterioration of Arab and Islamic support to Jordan. It surprises me that Muslims have been quiet, perhaps they see an advantage if Jordan’s role is diminished? If true, this would be dangerous.”

Qader, a former minister in the Palestinian government and a current member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Arab News that Jordan’s position “guarantees continuation of the status quo.”