With Eyes Covered And A Noose Around His Neck, A Young Man Identified Only As Balal Was "Screaming And Praying Loudly Before He Just Went Silent"
It Was Wednesday, Early In The Morning. Balal Was Walking To The Gallows To Face Execution In The City Of Nour, In Northern Iran.
It Was Before Sunrise But Hundreds Of People Had Gathered Near The Prison To Watch It. Balal's Mother And Sisters Were Crying Hard.
But A Blindfolded Balal Couldn't See Them As He Was Made To Step On The Wooden Stool
Some In The Crowd Started Shouting "Forgive Him, Forgive Him". They Were, Along With Balal's Mother, Asking The Family Of The Victim To Pardon Him.
Balal Had Stabbed Abdollah Hosseinzadeh To Death Some Seven Years Ago In A Street Fight. He Was 19 At The Time, Abdollah Was 17. As Guards Put The Rope Around Balal's Neck, He Started Crying Hard.
As The Dramatic Scenes Were Unfolding, The Victim's Mother - A Grieving Samereh Alinejad Went Towards Balal And Slapped Him In The Face
Then, In Front Of The Surprised Crowd, She Took The Rope From Around Balal's Neck. She Had Forgiven Her Son's Killer.
Balal's Mother Hugged The Grieving Mother Of The Man Her Son Had Killed. The Two Women Sobbed In Each Other's Arms – One Because She Had Lost Her Son, The Other Because Hers Had Been Saved.
The Action By Abdollah's Mother Was All The More Extraordinary As It Emerged That This Was Not The First Son She Had Lost. Her Younger Child Amirhossein Was Killed In A Motorbike Accident At The Age Of 11.
"My 18-year-old son Abdollah was taking a stroll in the bazaar with his friends when Balal shoved him," said the victim's father, Abdolghani Hosseinzadeh, according to Isna. "Abdollah was offended and kicked him but at this time the murderer took an ordinary kitchen knife out of his socks."theguardian.com
Hosseinzadeh Sr has come to the conclusion that Balal did not kill his son deliberately. "Balal was inexperienced and didn't know how to handle a knife. He was naive."bbc.com
According to the father, Balal escaped the scene of the stabbing but was later arrested by the police. It took six years for a court to hand down a death sentence, and the victim's family deferred the execution a number of times. A date for execution was set just before the Persian new year, Nowruz, but the victim's family did not approve of the timing.independent.co.uk
Abdollah Hosseinzadeh's Father Told The Guardian Why The Family Had A Change Of Heart:
Abdollah's Mother said:
"I am a believer. I had a dream in which my son told me that he was at peace and in a good place. After that, all my relatives, even my mother, put pressure on me to pardon the killer." The “slap was the space between revenge and forgiveness”, she added. "Now that I've forgiven him, I feel relieved."theaustralian.com.au
Although The Family Has Forgiven Him, Balal Will Not Be Freed. Under Iranian Law The Victim's Family Have A Say Only In The Act Of Execution, Not Any Jail Sentence.