Forgive them, Father, They know not ---An Iranian Mother

 
Last-minute reprieve: Iranian woman spares life of son's killer with a slap



 
TEHRAN: An Iranian mother spared the life of her son's convicted murderer with an emotional slap in the face as he awaited execution with the noose around his neck, a newspaper reported on Thursday. The dramatic climax followed a rare public campaign to save the life of Balal, who at 19 killed another young man, Abdollah Hosseinzadeh, in a street fight with a knife back in 2007.
Shargh newspaper said police officers led Balal to a public execution site in the northern city of Nowshahr as a large crowd gathering on Tuesday morning.

Samereh Alinejad, mother of the victim who lost another son in a motorbike accident four years ago, asked the crowd whether they know "how difficult it is to live in an empty house." Balal, blackhooded and standing on a chair before a makeshift gallows, had the noose around his neck when Alinejad approached. She slapped him in the face and removed the rope from his neck assisted by her husband, Abdolghani Hosseinzadeh, a former professional footballer.

"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," Alinejad told Shargh. "The murderer was crying, asking for forgiveness. I slapped him in the face. That slap helped to calm me down," she said. "Now that I've forgiven him, I feel relieved." Balal said the "slap was the space between revenge and forgiveness." "I've asked my friends not to carry knives... I wish someone had slapped me in the face when I wanted to carry one," Balal said in a television interview.

A campaign was launched by public figures including Adel Ferdosipour, a popular football commentator and TV show host, and former international footballer Ali Daei, appealed for the victim's family to forgive the killer.