Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 12 - A woman sentenced to death for killing a senior police officer who tried to rape her has been pardoned by the victim's family according to a judiciary official, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. Afsaneh Nowrouzi was ordered to pay the family of Colonel Behzad Moghaddam $62,500 as blood money in order to escape the execution. Iran Focus

Tehran, Jan. 12 - A woman sentenced to death for killing a senior police officer who tried to rape her has been pardoned by the victim's family according to a judiciary official, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

Afsaneh Nowrouzi was ordered to pay the family of Colonel Behzad Moghaddam $62,500 as blood money in order to escape the execution.

Nowrouzi, now 34, stabbed Moghaddam to death in 1997 in order to defend herself from Moghaddam, the police chief on the tourist island of Kish in the Persian Gulf.

In Iran, a married woman who is raped can be convicted of adultery and sentenced to death. If she kills the attempted rapist, she can be tried for murder and sentenced to death.

The Kish court rejected the self-defense claim and sentenced Nowrouzi to death in 2001, raising an outcry from women activists across the world and attracting the attention of international groups who sought to overturn the sentence.

Under pressure, Iran's head of judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, ordered a review of the verdict late last year. Moghaddam's family this week agreed to blood money as compensation rather than Nowrouzi's execution.

Nowrouzi's lawyer, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, said his client never sought mercy because she believed she had justly defended herself.

"The victim's family members did a good thing signing documents not calling for Nowrouzi's death, despite my client's refusal to request clemency,'' he said.