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Pardoned Just As He Was Hanged

BANDAR ABBAS — A “few seconds” after an Iranian man's hanging began, his victim's relatives called prison officials to grant a pardon, as Iranian laws allow. According to prison authorities in the south of the country on April 20, the man survived the hanging — which was on an unspecified recent date — and is recovering, Shargh newspaper reported, citing IRNA news agency.

The man had been sentenced to be hung for a murder committed 14 years earlier.

Iran carries the death penalty for several offenses, although with murders, where the law of talion applies, a victim’s relatives may pardon a killer in exchange for financial compensation and imprisonment.

A similar last-minute pardon occurred last week in Iran, when the victim's mother slapped her son's killer, before granting him a reprieve. Iran is believed to execute more people than any other country in the world after China.

The latest convict in question was described as a social worker, and had been imprisoned in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas. The local deputy chief prosecutor Hasan Marsalpur said: "Almighty God has given the victim's family the right of retaliation in kind, but people are also strongly advised to pardon and condone. In such cases...great effort is made to obtain pardon...after the sentence is passed."

According to the daily Aftab-e Yazd at least seven people are currently awaiting imminent execution in Iran. The paper cited Esmail Kahrom, an adviser to the head of Environmental Protection Organization, as saying that four environmental officers were waiting to be hanged in different parts of Iran, though he did not say why. He said the agency had managed before to save other officers set to be executed, and was working on "improving their conditions," saying little else on their purported crimes.

-Ahmad Shayegan

Photo: andy dolman via CC

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

Keep reading...Show less

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