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In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-17

An Iranian woman on Tuesday pardoned her son’s killer at the gallows, with just seconds to spare before executioners were to hang him.

In a case that has provoked surprise in Iran and across the world, the killer, known only as Balal, was dramatically saved by Samereh Alinejad whose son, Abdollah Hosseinzadeh, was murdered in a street fight in 2007.

Up until the very last moment, Alinejad had refused to accept an offer of so-called blood money to spare the killer’s life.

As Balal awaited his fate, a grieving Alinejad, who had lost another son in a motorcycle accident four years ago, asked out loud if those watching the spectacle knew "how difficult it is to live in an empty house?"

Under the sharia law of retribution, relatives can choose to be the ones who push away the chair on which the condemned man stands. Rather than participating in this custom, known as "qisas", Alinejad pardoned the killer, instead giving him a slap on the face as punishment.

"I am a believer. I had a dream in which my son told me that he was at peace and in a good place," Alinejad told Iran’s “Shargh” newspaper. "After that, all my relatives, even my mother, put pressure on me to pardon the killer."

The slap “was the space between revenge and forgiveness", she said. "Now that I've forgiven him, I feel relieved."

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

 

Date created : 2014-04-17

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