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

Comments

More

How it feels to be a woman in America right now

"There is a sense of impending doom"

02 Dec 2016

Viewers slam Eamonn Holmes for ‘sexist’ treatment of GBBO's Candice

“He’s making me so uncomfortable – poor Candice”

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

The 12 surprising health benefits of mulled wine

Mulled wine, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways…

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

Pensioner, 89, offered bar job after "stop me dying from boredom" ad

We love a story with a happy ending

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

Bake Off fans, you can now apply to be on Channel 4’s GBBO

On your marks, get set, baaaaake…

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

Inventor of new £5 note brands vegans “stupid” over animal fat debate

"It's stupid. It's absolutely stupid."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
02 Dec 2016

Baby it’s Cold Outside has been given a feminist makeover

The troubling Christmas song has been transformed into an epic consent anthem

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

You’d be more productive if you could work from a café, study finds

Tell your boss.

by Moya Crockett
02 Dec 2016

The best low-alcohol swaps for your favourite beers, wines and spirits

Time for a booze-not-booze?

by Amy Swales
01 Dec 2016

Dorchester issues “disgusting” list of beauty demands to female staff

Women have been told to shave their legs and wear full make-up

by Sarah Biddlecombe
01 Dec 2016