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

20 soothing, beautiful songs guaranteed to help you fall asleep

An expert picks the ultimate classical music playlist

by Sarah Biddlecombe
20 Oct 2017

Puppy dog eyes are a thing and your dog makes them just for you

A study says dogs change their facial expressions when humans are looking

by Amy Swales
20 Oct 2017

Here’s how to buy a house or a flat for the princely sum of £1

It's time to enter the real-estate raffle

by Megan Murray
20 Oct 2017

Oxford University under fire for shocking lack of racial diversity

One MP called the revelations an example of “social apartheid”

by Moya Crockett
20 Oct 2017

This prosecco festival is the best way to start feeling Christmassy

Bubbles, bubbles everywhere

by Susan Devaney
20 Oct 2017

Missing your 16-25 railcard? We have good news for you

Rail bosses have taken pity on cash-strapped millennials

20 Oct 2017

This man’s response to his friend’s period while hiking is everything

“I had NOTHING on me and I was wearing shorts”

by Susan Devaney
20 Oct 2017

Why anxiety makes it harder to follow your intuition

It can have a paralysing effect on decision-making

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

“Why all men must work to stamp out sexual harassment and abuse”

In wake of the Weinstein allegations, one writer argues why men need to be counted

19 Oct 2017

Rage, lust, power and warmth: how it feels to experience ‘red emotions

“I grew up being told my body was terrifying and my voice was unimportant”

by The Stylist web team
19 Oct 2017