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Iranian Killer Pardoned Moments Before Execution

In a dramatic scene at a scheduled public execution, an Iranian woman spared the life of her son's killer as he stood with a noose around his neck. The victim's relatives were tasked with pushing the chair out from under the convicted killer, but instead the victim's mother slapped him and then forgave him. The scene was captured in photographs by Arash Khamooshi of Iran's semiofficial ISNA news agency.

The convicted killer, identified only as Balal, is led to the gallows. He was sentenced to death for fatally stabbing another young man, Abdollah, in a fight seven years ago, when both were 17.
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The convicted killer, identified only as Balal, is led to the gallows. He was sentenced to death for fatally stabbing another young man, Abdollah, in a fight seven years ago, when both were 17.

The day before the planned execution, Balal's mother said she had lost hope that he would be pardoned.
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The day before the planned execution, Balal's mother said she had lost hope that he would be pardoned.

People gather to watch the planned execution in the town of Noor in Mazandaran Province.
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People gather to watch the planned execution in the town of Noor in Mazandaran Province.

The family of the murder victim was expected to participate in the hanging by pushing a chair out from under the prisoner. The custom is endorsed by a part of Sharia law known as "qisas," or retribution.
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The family of the murder victim was expected to participate in the hanging by pushing a chair out from under the prisoner. The custom is endorsed by a part of Sharia law known as "qisas," or retribution.

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