The former mayor of Tehran, who was sentenced to death for murdering his second wife, was freed on Wednesday, August 28, after being pardoned by the victim’s family.
Mohammad Ali Najafi was released on an approximately $240,000 bail, local news outlets cited his attorney, Hamid Reza Goudarzi, as saying.
MIT educated Najafi has also been sentenced to two years for carrying an "unlicensed" gun. The sentence is subject to appeal, Goudarzi noted.
Mohammad Ali Najafi, 67, shot his second wife, Mitra Ostad, 35, at their home in a posh neighborhood of Tehran on May 28. The police found Ostad's body with several gunshots in her chest.
Hours later, Najafi surrendered himself to the police.
According to Iran's Islamic penal Code, if a person has intentionally murdered or maimed another person, the victim (or victim's family) is entitled to retribution, (Qisas or an "eye for an eye" in the case of personal injury or a life for a life in the case of murder).
However, the victim (victim's family in case of death of the victim) are entitled to forgive the perpetrator.
Two weeks ago, Mitra Ostad's brother, Massoud, said on his Instagram account, "We have forgiven Mr. Najafi", without demanding blood money.
The post meant that Najafi would not be hanged and did not have to pay "blood money" to the relatives of his victim.
Blood money is cash, or some other form of compensation paid by an offender (usually a murderer) to the family or relatives of the victim.
The Islamic Republic official news agency, IRNA, cited Najai's attorney, Gudarzi on Wednesday as saying that his client was allowed bail because he was pardoned by the victim’s family, effectively annulling the death sentence.
He also added that his client was freed on bail because "he was ill".
Now, Najafi only faces lesser charges, such as owning an unlicensed firearm.
"The warrant for temporary detention has been changed to bail, and he was freed from prison," the lawyer added.
However, according to the Islamic Penal Code, Najafi still faces trial for premeditated murder that could carry a three-ten-year jail term. In the meantime, the judge could also pardon the accused if he decides that releasing the convict would not "harm" the society.