Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Mother who saved son's killer from noose: Rage vanished within my heart

615x330-arash-khamooshi-42.jpg
615x330-arash-khamooshi-50.jpg

The Iranian mother who saved her teenage son’s killer from being hanged for murder, said she felt rage vanish from her heart the moment she pardoned him.

Samereh Alinejad’s son Abdollah Hosseinzadeh was stabbed and killed in a street brawl in 2007 when he was 18 by his killer Balal who he had played football with in his teens.

Under the rules of qisas, the sharia law of retribution, the victim's family were to push the chair on which Balal was balancing, in order to trigger the execution by hanging.

"Ten days before the execution was due, I saw my son in a dream asking me not to take revenge, but I couldn't convince myself to forgive," she told the Guardian. "Two nights before that day, I saw him in the dream once again, but this time he refused to speak to me."

Moments before he was to be hanged, Balal reportedly begged for mercy. "Please forgive," he shouted, "if only for my mum and dad," Samereh recalled. "I was angry, I shouted back how can I forgive, did you show mercy to my son's mum and dad?"

Photo: Arash Khamooshi /Isna

However, Samereh shocked herself and the world when she stepped up to the execution site and rather than kicking out his chair, slapped Balal in the face after which the noose was removed and he was pardoned.

"After that, I felt as if rage vanished within my heart. I felt as if the blood in my veins began to flow again," she said. "I burst into tears and I called my husband and asked him to come up and remove the noose."

Photo: Arash Khamooshi /Isna

Iran has one of the worst human rights records in the world when it comes to public executions, which are usually carried out using cranes that lift the condemned person by a noose around the neck in front of a crowd of spectators. They are typically conducted in unregulated settings, and children are often present.

Photo: Arash Khamooshi /Isna

The extraordinary sequence of events was captured by Arash Khamooshi, of Iran's Isna news agency.

Words: Michelle Fowler, Photos: Arash Khamooshi, Iran's Isna news agency

Related

lucy-main.jpg

"I'm giving this page to Save The Children"

pasta-cut.jpg

'Pastafarian' wins religious freedom right

rexfeatures_1827458b.jpg

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”

rexfeatures-3679726b.jpg

Brave woman celebrates her freedom by wearing wedding dress every day

nazi-hero.jpg

How my mother defied the Nazis

arash-khamooshi-42.jpg

Extraordinary scenes as mother saves her son's killer from the noose

More

Meteorologist’s epic response to troll who called her “disgusting”

“Enough is enough.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
18 Aug 2017

Acts of love, humanity and solidarity following the Barcelona attack

In the darkness, there is light.

by Moya Crockett
18 Aug 2017

How you can help those caught up in the Barcelona attack

The ways you can support the victims, survivors and investigation

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

People are furious about Trump’s response to the Barcelona attack

The world is sick of his double-standard on terrorism

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

Ryan Phillipe on how he tackles depression

“I’m thinking about how to focus and steady myself”

by Susan Devaney
17 Aug 2017

Are black girls being forced to grow up too fast?

A study has shown that black girls as young as five are seen as more adult than their white peers

by Kemi Alemoru
17 Aug 2017

Teen receives sickening messages after asking for career advice

This businessman's response was shocking

by Sarah Biddlecombe
17 Aug 2017

We want everything from this new high-street Disney collaboration

Seriously magical

by Megan Murray
17 Aug 2017

JK Rowling's video game confession has sparked a Twitter frenzy

The internet is LOVING it

by Megan Murray
17 Aug 2017

New law forces women in Texas to buy “rape insurance” for abortions

“I am proud to sign the legislation,” Governor Greg Abbott said

by Sarah Biddlecombe
17 Aug 2017