Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
for Human Rights in Iran
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The relatives of the condemned man then discover an excess of suffering that punishes them beyond all justice. - Albert Camus, Reflections on the Guillotine
The Death Penalty: A Punishment that Doesn’t End at the Gallows
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When a loved one goes to the gallows, how deep are the emotional scars on those left behind?
"I cannot sleep or speak if I don’t take pills. No one endured the psychological torture that I did; I can’t even talk to my own kid anymore."
What does the state that takes lives do for those left behind?
"They took these guys and killed them, and what happened? Is anyone taking care of their families? Has the country gotten better?"
What are those left behind to do when execution brings more anguish instead of closure?
"We thought the killer’s execution would bring us closure, but the day he was put to death was like the day our daughter had been killed."
When the state labels someone worthy of death, what social burden do loved ones carry?
"After they imprisoned my husband, people talked a lot behind my back... I now stay away from social gatherings, and it's hard to interact with people.”
What happens to a family whose breadwinner is on death row?
"My wife called and said 'I wish I were in prison too.' She wished she could be in jail instead of living the life she had on the outside. She had no income."
When the state takes life, what roots of crime does it leave unexamined?
"Shouldn’t someone come and ask, 'What is the source of your problems? Why did your husband become a drug dealer?"
Can a child ever comprehend the state killing?
"My daughter would cry for any reason and for no reason at all. She would get on the kitchen counter and say 'I’m going to jump off of here and kill myself."
Can a cycle of trauma and revenge ever allow the healing that victims' families seek?
“The man who executed my brother himself is in a worse state than we are. ٌWhen you carry it out yourself, it’s not something you easily forget.”
What does the violence of state killing do to a child's mind?
"My six-year-old son watches cartoons and says 'Mom, I want to be like this character, I want to go save Uncle and kill police."
How many lives can one death penalty verdict take?
"Zakaria's grandmother killed herself: she set herself on fire and died." 'My child's rights are being violated here' she said."
Can a punishment that breeds resentment be in any government's interest?
“Iran made orphans of my children, and now they weep bitterly... As long as I am alive I will curse Iran's name."
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