It's Personal

TitleIt's Personal
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsFunke, MB, Funke, RD, Greer, S, Myers, GA, Potthast, A
PublisherAssociation for Practical and Professional Ethics
AbstractAfter a six-year ordeal in the courts, Balal Gheisari, who came from northern Iran, was convicted of killing 18 year old Abdollah Hosseinzadeh by an Iranian Court and sentenced to die by hanging. He walked up to the gallows and a noose was placed upon his neck. Under a literal interpretation of a part of Sharia Law called qisas or retribution, the victim’s family was allowed to participate in the execution by pushing the chair out from under his feet. Instead of this happening, however, the mother of the victim climbed the stairs to the gallows, slapped Balal across his face, and forgave him. Hosseinzadeh’s father took the noose from his neck and effectively spared his life. Instead of hanging, he would go to jail because the victim’s family opted for mercy. 57 The above scene could not happen in an American death penalty case. Victims do not have the power to commute a convict’s sentence because it is the state that condemns the person to die or live according to the law. In criminal cases in general, victims do not have much say in the carrying out of a sentence. 
Notes©2018 Association for Practical and Professional Ethics   Case from the 2018 Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Regional Competition