The payment of “blood money” spared 358 Iranians from execution last year, the country’s prosecutor general said on Monday.
The practice, made possible under the Islamic sharia law of diya (restitution), allows a convict to be pardoned by a victim’s family if they receive financial recompense.
The 358 cases fell in the last Iranian calendar year, between March 2013 and March 2014, the Fars news agency quoted prosecutor general Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie as saying.
According to the United Nations, more than 170 people have been executed in Iran since the beginning of 2014.
However, Iranian media have in recent weeks published details of several capital cases in which blood money spared the killers from execution.
The most high-profile case involved a blindfolded murderer known only as Balal being pictured with a hangman’s noose around his neck.
The convict escaped the gallows at the last minute when his victim’s mother pardoned him, and only administered a slap on his face as punishment.
The blood money in the Balal case had been raised from the proceeds of a film director’s special screening, amounting to 3 billion rials ($90,000).
After Balal dramatically escaped death, media reported several other cases in which the victim’s family pardoned the killer at the very last minute, with one being pardoned even after he was hanged for a few minutes.
Another fundraising event was the screening of a film called “Sensitive Floor” which was held by famous actors and artists on Sunday.
The organisers managed to raise 7,000,000,000 rials ($200,000) as blood money which is needed for three convicts on death row.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s human rights rapporteur on Iran, has urged Iranian authorities to conduct a re-trial of a woman on death row, to “ensure the defendant’s right to due process which is guaranteed under both Iranian law and international law.”
Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, was sentenced to death for the murder of a former intelligence official, and it has been suggested that her execution could be imminent.