2015 Photo Contest, Spot News, 3rd prize

Act of Forgiveness


Arash Khamooshi


15 April, 2014

Prison authorities bring Balal to the scaffold.

Although exact figures are not known, Iran is thought to execute more people than any country in the world, apart from China. Hangings are frequently held in public, and sometimes a murder victim’s family may participate in the punishment by pushing the chair from under a condemned prisoner.

On 15 April, a young man identified only as Balal was due to be hanged for stabbing a friend, Abdollah Hosseinzadeh, to death during a street brawl. Hosseinzadeh’s mother was present at the hanging, but at the last minute, instead of pushing the chair, she slapped Balal’s face in an act of symbolic forgiveness. Such an act puts a stop to the execution, though the victim’s family does not have a say in any subsequent jail sentence.

About the photographer

Arash Khamooshi

That was when he decided to pursue his dream and obtain his bachelor degree in photography while working for the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA). Being active since 2005, he ...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
Focal length
35.0 mm
Canon EOS-1D X

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