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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
Iran footballer mistress to hang
Khani looks on as Shahla Jahed argues for her life in court
Khani had a four-year relationship with Shahla Jahed
The mistress of an Iranian football star has been sentenced to death by hanging for murdering his wife.

Khadijeh Shahla Jahed was found guilty of stabbing Laleh Saharkhizan, who was married to former international player Nasser Mohammad Khani.

Shahla Jahed had been living with Khani in Tehran under a temporary marriage, a practice allowed under Shia Islam which protected him from charges of adultery.

The taboo-breaking case has been widely covered by Iranian local media.

The sentence, disclosed on Thursday after a closed trial, is still subject to confirmation by the country's supreme court.

Khani, a top Iranian footballer in the late 1980s who later became coach for Tehran's Persepolis club, was in Germany on a training trip when the killing happened nearly two years ago.

Sex and drugs

During the trial, it emerged that Shahla Jahed was a devoted fan of the player who had pursued him until he gave in to her advances.

The court heard that Khani led a double life, carrying on a four-year relationship with Shahla Jahed in an apartment in north Tehran while maintaining his marriage with Laleh Saharkhizan.

Ms Saharkhizan's mother and sister told the court that she had received telephone calls at night from an anonymous woman who told her she did not deserve her life with Khani.

After the murder, her body was found at home by her children, bearing several knife wounds.

Shahla Jahed was arrested the next day and refused to talk for nearly a year.

Khani was also imprisoned for several months on suspicion of complicity, but was released after his lover confessed that she had acted alone.

However, after the court heard that he had smoked opium with his mistress, he was sentenced to 74 lashes for drug-taking.

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