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Forgiveness WorkMercy, Law, and Victims' Rights in Iran$
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Arzoo Osanloo

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691172040

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691172040.001.0001

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When Mercy Seasons Justice

(p.264) Epilogue
Forgiveness Work

Arzoo Osanloo

Princeton University Press

This epilogue looks at the modern bureaucratic state. It considers what it means for a state's regulatory scheme to be comprised of such a range of free-roaming and diverse actors who operate in a semi-autonomous social field and participate in shaping and regulating its operations. Consequently, the epilogue reflects on what forgiveness work means for rights, law, and the higher aims of the Qur'anic mandate of mercy. Mercy means a lessening of deserved punishment (leniency) and, at the same time, mercy's very presence suggests injustice lies everywhere. That is, where there is mercy, there is injustice. However, mercy can play a crucial role in bringing about justice. The insistence on mercy, even if it is a power from above, can offer a crucial corrective to injustice. In some ways, this feature of the legal system explains the involvement of government agents in forgiveness work and suggests the basis for the state's differential treatment of anti-death penalty or human right activists versus forgiveness workers.

Keywords:   bureaucratic state, regulatory scheme, forgiveness work, mercy, leniency, justice, injustice, anti-death penalty activists, human right activists, forgiveness workers

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