This morning, Reza was told that his mother, Mansoureh, who has been in prison on drug crimes for six years and was sentenced to death, might will not be executed after all thanks to a change in a drug law that has softened the punishment for some offenders.
Mansoureh and Reza's father, Majid, were arrested and imprisoned after they were caught carrying 8 kilograms (nearly 18 pounds) of drugs. The change in the law is too late to save Majid -- who was executed 14 months ago -- but may save Mansoureh.
The new law raised the threshold for capital punishment to possessing more than 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of opium, 2 kilograms (4 pounds) of heroin or 3 kilograms (7 pounds) of meth. On Tuesday, it was announced that those awaiting execution have the right to have their cases reviewed given the new law, offering hope to thousands on death row.
“The new statement will return 15,000 cases back to the courts to be re-studied,” Hassan Norouzi, spokesman for the parliament's Judiciary Committee, told Jame Jam.
Iran has the highest number of executions in the world after China, according to Amnesty International. Iran alone accounted for 66 percent of all recorded executions in the Middle East. However, executions have been on the decline. The total number of executions in the country dropped by 42 percent in 2016, down from at least 977 to at least 567 compared to the previous year.
Iran’s hard-liner judiciary officials have always insisted that most of the capital punishments were due to drug-related crimes and carried out as a preventive measure to control drug trafficking within the country and to Europe.
For her part, Zahra is the happiest today after hearing Mansoureh shouting out of happiness in a phone call from prison saying her execution is revoked. She is also happy her grandson has hope again. “He was depressed and anxious for months after his dad’s execution. This kid would totally break if his mom was executed, too,” she said.