Zahra Ismaili was convicted of killing her husband, an Iranian intelligence official, who had allegedly been abusive to her and her daughter.

Her lawyer Omid Moradi described online how the mother-of-two was forced to wait in line at the gallows behind 16 condemned men and watch as they were hanged.

Ismaili passed out and suffered a heart attack, but they took her up the scaffold and hanged her from a noose so that the victim’s mother could kick a chair from under her lifeless legs.

The concession was granted under the sharia law of qisas (‘eye for an eye’), a doctrine which grants the victim or victim’s family the right to retributive justice.