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New charge filed in alleged Texas honor killing of Iranian activist’s husband, friend

Courtroom (Karen Neoh/Flickr)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Special prosecutors have filed a new charge against a woman suspected of conspiring with relatives in the alleged honor killings in Texas of her estranged sister’s American husband and a friend, who was an Iranian rights activist.

The authorities on November 20 charged 35-year-old Nadia Irsan with conspiring with her father, stepmother, and brother in a plan that led to the 2012 fatal shootings in the Houston area.

Irsan had previously been charged with stalking related to the killings of Nesreen Irsan’s 28-year-old husband, Coty Beavers, and her friend Gelareh Bagherzadeh, 30.

Irsan’s public defender, Eric Davis, said he will fight the charges in court.

Nadia Irsan is one of two people with open cases tied to the killings, which occurred after Nesreen Irsan left the family’s rural compound and converted from Islam to Christianity.

Irsan’s father Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan, a Jordanian immigrant and conservative Muslim, was sentenced to death in 2018 for the two killings.

Testimony in the trial of Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan indicated Bagherzadeh was targeted in January 2012 because she helped Nesreen Irsan convert to Christianity.

Police said Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan, his wife, and son Nasim Isran followed Bagherzadeh to her parents’ home, and that the son shot her while she was in her car.

Nasim Isran is awaiting trial on a capital murder charge.

The indictment appeared to end speculation that the Iranian government was involved in the murder of Bagherzadeh, who spoke out publicly against Tehran’s repressive tactics after leaving Iran in 2008.