A series of photographs that show what was supposed to be the last moments of Balal, an Iranian murder convict’s life has went viral after his life was spared, seconds before the execution. The incident happened in the small town of Royan in the northern Iranian province of Mazandaran, reports the BBC.
Balal was about to be executed in public for killing an 18-year-old teenager, Abdollah Hosseinzadeh during a street brawl. As per Iran’s Qisas (an eye for an eye) law, the Sharia law of retribution, the murder victim’s family is given the right of participating in the execution by pushing the chair away on which the convict stands with a noose tied around his neck. The moment the chair is pushed away, the convict falls into the trap door, killing him.
As Balal awaited his impending execution, the victim’s mother and father approached the gallows. Being a public execution, which is a norm in Iran, a large number of people had gathered to watch the spectacle. However what happened next not only surprised everyone present there, but also taught a lesson or two in forgiveness to many.
(Click on the photo below to expand the gallery)
Iranian Murder Convict Balal’s Life Spared By Victim’s Mother At The Last Moment [Photos]
Crowd assembled near the execution area
The crowd that had assembled to witness Balal’s public execution. Balal’s mother can be seem among them sitting on the ground.
Balal being taken to the gallows
Balal being taken to the gallows for his scheduled execution
Noose being tied around Balal’s neck
Authorities tie a noose around Balal’s neck
Abdollah’s parents approach Balal
Abdollah’s parents approach the gallows where Balal was scheduled to be hanged
Abdollah’s mother slaps Balal
Abdollah’s mother slaps Balal
Balal being told he is being forgiven
Balal being told she has forgiven him for his crime
Balal cries as the noose is removed from his neck
Balal weeps as authorities remove the noose from his neck
A weeping Balal being taken away by authorities
A weeping Balal being taken away by Iranian authorities
Abdollah’s mother explains why she forgave Balal
Abdollah’s mother addresses the local crowd
Balal’s relatives hug Abdollah’s father
Balal’s relatives seen hugging Abdollah’s father
Crowd appreciates the family’s gesture
Crowd assembled at the venue appreciates Abdollah’s family’s gesture
Balal’s mother thanks Abdollah’s mother
Balal’s mother falls to Abdollah’s mother’s feet to thank her
Balal and Andollah’s mother embrace
Balal’s mother and Abdollah’s mother embrace and cry
Balal’s relatives thank Abdollah’s parents
Balal’s relatves thank Abdollah’s father for saving his life
The grave of 18-year-old Abdollah, who was stabbed to death by Balal
The mother of the murder victim, who was given the go ahead to push the chair away approached Balal, slapped him on the face and decided to forgive her 18-year-old son’s killer. The victim’s father then proceeded to remove the noose from Balal’s neck who was by now in tears. People who had come to watch the execution were also seen in tears as the mother decided to forgive Balal. Also present at the venue of the execution was Balal’s mother who waited in agony as her son was about to be killed in front of her.
Afer Balal’s life was spared, the two women hugged each other and sobbed. It was a poignant scene. In subsequent pictures, Balal’s mom and other relatives is seen approaching Abdollah Hosseinzadeh’s family members and thanking them for their gesture that saved their young child. In one photograph, Balal’s mother is seen touching the feet of Abdollah’s mother – probably as a mark of respect for her kind gesture. Pictures from incident have been since then spreading like wildfire all over the Internet with it being shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter. What made Abdollah Hosseinzadeh’s mother’s actions even more commendable is the fact that she had also lost her other son, in a bike accident at the age of 11.
Abdollah Hosseinzadeh was killed by Balal back in 2007 when the former was shoved unprovoked by Balal. In retaliation, Abdollah kicked Balal who responded by taking a knife out of his socks and stabbing Abdollah who later died from his injuries. Balal managed to escape but was subsequently arrested by the police and put on trial. He was sentenced to death and his date of execution too was changed more than once for various reasons.
Abdollah Hosseinzadeh’s mother was later heard saying that her decision to spare Balal’s life was made three days before the execution in which Abdollah supposedly came in her dream and told her that he was now in a better place and asked her not to retaliate. Abdollah’s father was of the opinion that Balal was too young when the crime happened and blamed the crime on Balal’s naivety.
Iran, which is known for its public executions is only ranked behind China in the number of executions it conducts each year. An estimated 369 people were killed in public executions in Iran in 2013 as per official figures. According to the Guardian, Amnesty International estimates the actual number to be closer to 700. This year alone, Iran has seen over 199 executions.
Meanwhile, even though Balal has been forgiven by Abdollah’s mother, it is unclear if he would be released. This is because only the Iranian authorities have the right to waive off his sentence.
Do you think Balal deserves a second chance at life?
[Images via Arash Khamooshi/ISNA]