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Behnoud Shojaie Was Executed In Front Of My Eyes

Behnoud Shojaie
Behnoud Shojaie
Blogger Mohammad Mostafaei is an Iranian lawyer who represents offenders on death row who committed crimes when they were younger than 18. Mostafaei writes about the October 11 hanging of his client, Behnoud Shojaie, who was executed for stabbing to death a teenager when he was 17.

About 2.00 a.m., rights activists and a number of Iran's mourning mothers were [outside Tehran's Evin Prison]. We were waiting for the parents to arrive at the prison. After about an hour, Ehsan's [the victim] parents appeared along with his siblings. The crowd moved towards them to try to convince them with their pleas to reconsider the execution of Behnoud.

Some time passed and his parents agreed to forgive.

All of a sudden the surroundings changed, the prison gates opened up, and the parents…and I went in. We stayed for some time in the waiting room. I thought the parents would forgive and Behnoud would not be executed.

Some more time passed and the voices of the activists praying were audible from outside. After a couple of minutes we entered into another lounge. Behnoud and some prison officials were present. As soon as he saw the parents he got down at their feet and begged them for his life….

Some of the prison officials, Mr. Oliyaifar, and myself went to the parents and begged them once more to reconsider Behnoud's execution and forgive him.

The mother said that she was incapable of thinking right: I just have to see the rope around his neck, she said. The sound of the azan [the Islamic call to prayer] could be heard.

Behnoud went into another room to offer his last prayers and ask God for forgiveness. After he completed his prayers we all went into the prison again.

I was overcome by fear, I was shivering. I did not know what would be the fate of this orphan child.

When Behnoud was begging the parents of the victim, he told the mother that he never had a mother of his own and asked her to be a mother for him and forgive him. We went to another lounge, hall number 4, comprising a rectangular stage with a rope hanging from the top.

Behnoud had wished to see the blue sky one last time before he died but instead he was face-to-face with a blue rope. The parents entered the hall and Behnoud was brought in afterwards.

The hall of executions.... It was more surprising for me that Behnoud was the only one to be executed. Probably this was bad luck as well, to leave on his own, all alone.

All of those present there asked for the victim's parents once more and said they wouldn't regret it if they left it in the hands of God. But the mother said once more that she just had to see the rope around Behnoud's neck.

He went onto the stage and the rope was placed around his neck. Within seconds, the parents of the victim approached him and pulled away the stool on which he was standing. Behnoud left this world....

Everything around me turned dark. Behnoud is no longer in the prison and among his friends. He will be missed.

I did everything in my power to try and stop this from happening. I still believe that he did not deserve what he got.

He shouldn't have been executed. But he was. He was executed.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.


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