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Iranian Killer's Execution Halted At Last Minute By Victim's Parents

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When he felt the noose around his neck, Balal must have thought he was about to take his last breath. Minutes earlier, crowds had watched as guards pushed him towards the gallows for what was meant to be yet another public execution in the Islamic republic of Iran.

Seven years ago Balal, who is in his 20s, stabbed 18-year-old Abdollah Hosseinzadeh during a street brawl in the small town of Royan, in the northern province of Mazandaran. In a literal application of qisas, the sharia law of retribution, the victim's family were to participate in Balal's punishment by pushing the chair on which he stood.

But what happened next marked a rarity in public executions in Iran, which puts more people to death than any other country apart from China. The victim's mother approached, slapped the convict in the face and then decided to forgive her son's killer. The victim's father removed the noose and Balal's life was spared.


An amazing system in some respects that a hanging can be prevented in this fashion.

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Better not to have capital punishment in the first place. It seems cruel and unusual punishment to almost hang a man, then reprieve him. I bet brown trousers were required.

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islamic law-enforcement isn't yet as alienated as ours; which can be a good and a bad thing.

I experienced this while visiting Luxor, Egypt many years ago.

One of the other guests arrived back at my hotel one evening in a state of distress saying that she had been pick-pocketed on the Publlc Nile ferry. the thief had been dobbed-in by another passenger (Egyptian); the police called, and the victim had had to spend 2 hours at the police station giving witness statements.

We were having a drink in the hotel bar while she calmed-down when she was called to the lobby and asked me to accompany her.

When we arrived, there was the pick-pocket! looking the worse for a kicking and apologizing profusely (as he'd apparently been ordered to do).

they ended-up shaking hands and leaving it at that; not before the thief declared that his day job was a taxi driver and he would be happy to take her on a tour of the West Bank tombs, an offer she politely declined.

how different it would all have been in the UK. Which is the better system?

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