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)
Woman pardons son's killer at the gallows in Iran
Blindfolded and terrified, 26-year-old Balal is led to the gallows to face a death sentence for killing Abdollah Hosseinzadeh in 2007.
Bilal is pardoned with a slap in the face by the victim's mother, Samereh Alinejad, just seconds before executioners were to carry out his hanging. "The killer was crying," she said. "He asked for my pardon. I slapped him, which calmed me."
Some onlookers witnessing the dramatic turn of events applauded, others cried.
Balal's mother (centre), kneeling before the gallows.
According to Islamic sharia law, a victim's family can pardon a killer from a death sentence in return for "blood money". In 2014 the sum was estimated at 36,000 euros.
The victim's mother asks the crowd whether they know "how difficult it is to live in an empty house?"
Date created : 2014-04-17