Parents Stop Hanging of Son's Killer at Last Moment

Iranian couple have change of heart
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2014 3:20 AM CDT
Updated Apr 17, 2014 7:36 AM CDT
File photo of a noose in a gallows, this one in the Gaza Strip.   (AP Photo/Gaza Interior Ministry)

(Newser) – The Guardian has an amazing story from Iran, where the parents of a murdered man spared their son's killer during what was supposed to have been his public execution on Tuesday. The mercy came at the last possible moment for the man, identified only as Balal: The noose was around his neck, he was blindfolded, and, as the BBC reports, he was "screaming for his life." But when the victim's mother approached to kick the chair from beneath him—a form of vengeance permitted under Iranian law—she merely slapped his face. Then her husband removed the noose.

At that point, "Balal's mother hugged the grieving mother of the man her son had killed," writes Saeed Kamali Dehghan. "The two women sobbed in each other's arms—one because she had lost her son, the other because hers had been saved." Balal stabbed the couple's son to death seven years before during a street altercation; the two were 17 at the time. But the couple's forgiveness doesn't necessarily mean he'll go free. While victims' families can participate in executions, they have no say in jail sentences. For photos, see either the Guardian or this link to images from Iranian photographer Arash Khamooshi. (Read more Iran stories.)

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