updated 1/15/2007 10:10:27 PM ET 2007-01-16T03:10:27

An Iranian court dropped a death sentence against a teenager accused of killing a man who allegedly tried to rape her, the teenager's lawyer said on Monday.

An Iranian court convicted and sentenced Nazanin Fatehi to death more than a year ago after she admitted stabbing to death one of three men who allegedly tried to rape her and a 16-year-old niece. Fatehi was 17 years old at the time.

Fatehi and her niece were in a park outside Tehran with their boyfriends when they were approached by the three men. The boys fled after the men pushed the girls to the ground. Fatehi drew a knife and stabbed one man in the arm and another in the chest, killing him, according to the court records.

In June, a court ordered her death sentence stayed and a new trial ordered. In the second trial, which began Wednesday, the court decided the killing was not premeditated and did not warrant the death penalty.

"Five judges reviewed her case, and all of them admitted that what Fatehi did was only self-defense," said one of Fatehi's lawyers, Mohammad Mostafaei. "She just defended herself and her niece to avoid rape."

Mostafaei said he expected the court would sentence Fatehi — in accordance with Islamic law — to pay blood money to the family of the man.

Mostafaei said the court set Fatehi's bail at 400 million rials, or about US$45,000, and he would meet with her on Tuesday. He asked people to help collect money for Fatehi's bail to help get her released from custody.

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