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Iran Murder Victim's Mother Stops Hanging
A convicted killer due to be hanged for murder has been spared after the victim's mother had a last-minute change of heart.
The 18-year-old victim's parents were expected to kick away the chair supporting the condemned man, named as Balal, at the public execution and send him to his death.
But once he was blindfolded and the noose put around his neck, she instead slapped his face and said she forgave him.
As she climbed up to the gallows, Samereh Alinejad asked the large crowd that had gathered to watch the execution whether they knew "how difficult it is to live in an empty house".
The father of the victim, Abdolghani Hozzeinzad, then removed the noose from around the man's neck as the convict's own mother ran up to embrace the woman who had saved her son.
The two women stood and sobbed in each other's arms.
Mrs Alinejad told Shargh newspaper: "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 murderer was crying, asking for forgiveness. I slapped him in the face. That slap helped to calm me down."
Mr Hozzeinzad explained more about the dream.
"Three days ago my wife saw my elder son in a dream telling her that they are in a good place, and for her not to retaliate," he said.
"This calmed my wife and we decided to think more until the day of the execution."
The The The victim died seven years ago after being stabbed in a street fight by Balal in the small town of Royan, in the northern province of Mazandaran.
After he was spared, 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," he said in a TV interview.