Shahla Jahed has been executed this morning in Iran after being convicted of murdering a former football star's wife.

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The mistress of former football striker star Nasser Mohammed Khani was hanged after being convicted of stabbing to death Laleh Saharkhizan, Khani's wife in 2002. She was executed at 5am at Tehran's Evin prison before the morning call to prayer.

The hanging in Iran was based on the Islamic law of "eye for an eye" retribution: qisas.

Jahed, 40, had become Khani's "temporary wife" - which is a legal way for Iranian men to have mistresses outside marriage by agreeing to marry for a period of time. The agreements can last from a few hours to years long.

The case has fascinated Iranians since it began, with many videos appearing on YouTube. One such video shows Jahed passionately pleading her case to the judge during which she tells him that "I have had a nightmare where you stand over me with a lash".

It is reported that before the execution Jahed had prayed and then burst into tears crying for her life to be spared.

The family of Saharkhizan were present at the execution, and the son of the murdered wife pulled the chair from under Jahed's feet in the last moments of her life. Her former lover, Khani, also attended the hanging.

Judiciary officials are reported to have spent almost an hour in talks with Ms Saharkhizan's family before the hanging, trying to convince them to spare Jahed's life, but they were unsuccessful.

International human rights groups, including Amnesty International, had campaigned for Jahed's punishment to be halted. Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:"Shahla Jahed’s execution, like all such executions, is an example of premeditated and cold-blooded killing by the state, and is particularly distressing as there were serious concerns over the fairness of the trial, and the evidence used against the defendant."

Iran: inside the Islamic state - special report

Earlier Smart said: "There are strong grounds to believe that Shahla Jahed did not receive a fair trial, and may have been coerced into making a 'confession' during months of detention in solitary confinement. She retracted that confession at her trial but the court chose to accept it as evidence against her."

She was convicted of the murder in 2004, but in 2005 then a stay of execution was order so the case could be re-examined.

The death sentence was upheld in September 2006 and in early 2008, the verdict was overturned again over "procedural flaws". However, Shahla Jahed was again sentenced to death in February 2009.

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