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Iran: Payment Can Save a Murderer from Execution

(Aug. 31, 2009) It was reported on June 12, 2009, that judges of the High Criminal Court of Fars Province of Iran held a hearing to try a man charged with killing his daughter and seven other persons. The defendant, Hassan, had become furiously enraged because his daughter had fled with her lover, a young Afghani man.

Her whereabouts were unknown for several months; she then called her father to let him know that she was married to the man and wanted to come back with his family to perform the traditional marriage ceremony. Hassan, who was very angry because he believed that his daughter's running away with an Afghani lover was a disgrace to his family, agreed to the offer, but followed a vengeful scheme by buying a gun and killing his daughter and seven members of her husband's family.

According to article 220 of the Islamic Criminal Law of Iran, a father who assassinates his children cannot be executed under the principle of Qessas (retribution). Instead, the killer has to pay Diah (blood-money) to the descendants of the victim of the crime. (ABBAS ZERA'AT, QANOONI MUJA'ZA'TI ISLAMI [ISLAMIC CRIMINAL LAW] [in Persian] 72 (Tehran-2004).)

The descendants of the other persons killed expressed their readiness to accept the Diah in the amount of 120 million Tomans (about US$130,000), instead of retribution. Thus, a murderer of eight persons, under the principle of Qessas, was spared execution by payment of the amount of $130,000 as Diah. (Payment of 120 Million Tomans as Diah Can Save a Murderer of Eight Persons from Execution [in Farsi], IRAN TIMES, June 12, 2009, at 9, available at [search in Farsi].)