Morad Biranvand Saves Mother’s Murderer Before Own Drug Execution

Nov. 29, 2023, 3:30 p.m.

Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); November 29, 2023: Morad Biranvand was executed for drug-related charges in Khorramabad Central Prison. Prior to execution, he granted forgiveness to his mother’s murderer, saving his life from death row.

According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, a man was executed in Khorramabad Central Prison on 29 November. His identity has been established as 40-year-old Morad (Allah) Biranvand who was on death row for drug-related charges.

An informed source told IHRNGO: “Morad was arrested for drug charges around 8 years ago and sentenced to death. Morad’s mother was killed by someone four years ago, who was due to executed. The man’s family and some people sought Morad’s forgiveness. Authorities also told Morad ‘if you forgo execution, we won’t execute you.’ Morad save his mother’s murderer from death but the authorities didn’t keep their promised and executed him this morning.”

Morad previously did an interview with Hamshahri newspaper in which he explained that he was a driver and had just got engaged when he was arrested. A friend had asked him to deliver a package for him. However, he was arrested as soon as he set out to deliver it. He said helping his friend was the biggest mistake of his life and had tried to explain that the 4.4kg of heroin did not belong to him.

While behind bars, his mother had been murdered during a robbery. He explained how his views had changed on death row where he shared cells with the same people who he watched being taken to the gallows. “Life is short and I decided to forgive my mother’s murderer after I gained a better understanding in prison. I don’t expect anything in return and did it for god’s sake.”

Those charged with the umbrella term of “intentional murder” are sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) regardless of intent or circumstances due to a lack of grading in law. Once a defendant has been convicted, as the plaintiffs, the victim’s family are required to choose between death as retribution, diya (blood money) or forgiveness. In this case, Morad had chosen to forgo his right to retribution.

At the time of writing, his execution has not been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran.

Drug-related executions have continuously risen every year for the past three years. At least 305 people were executed for drug-related charges between 1 January-10 October 2023, a 69% increase compared to the same period in 2022, and the number of drug-related executions in 2023 were close to 20 times higher than 2020.

The number of drug executions dramatically dropped in 2018 following a 2017 Amendment to the Anti-Narcotics Laws. Consequently, drug executions ranged between 24-30 per annum between 2018-2020. The Amendment was reversed in practice in 2021 when executions increased ten-fold to 126 in 2021 and doubled again in 2022 with 256 drug-related executions. On 13 September 2023, IHRNGO reported a 94% rise in the number of drug-related executions in the year following the start of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement in September 2022.