Iran to blind criminal with acid in 'eye for an eye' justice

This is what you get when you combine state with religion. Whilst this sentence has, reportedly, been postponed, not sure what is more horrific; the original crime or that a state can sanction, under Sharia law, that someone can be blinded as a literal interpretation of 'an eye for an eye' (qisas - retribution).


Story reads:


In a literal application of the sharia law of an eye for an eye, Iran is ready for the first time to blind a man with acid, after he was found guilty of doing the same to a woman who refused to marry him.

Majid Movahedi, 30, is scheduled to be rendered unconscious in Tehran's judiciary hospital at noon on Saturday while Ameneh Bahrami, his victim, drops acid in both his eyes, her lawyer said.

Bahrami who had asked for an eye for an eye retribution in the court, was disfigured and blinded by Movahedi in 2004 when he threw a jar of acid in her face while she was returning home from work. "He was holding a red container in his hand. He looked into my eyes for a second and threw the contents of the red container into my face," she told the court in 2008.

According to Iranian media, Bahrami's lawyer, Ali Sarafi, has said: "A very good sentence has been given and an appropriate method has been adopted so that the convict will be blinded by few drops of acids in eyes after he is rendered unconscious."

In a highly publicised dossier in November 2008, a criminal court in Tehran ordered qisas (retribution) on Movahedi after he admitted throwing acid at Bahrami, and entitled her to blind him with acid. He was also required to pay compensation to the victim. Bahrami refused to accept the "blood money" and told the court: "Inflict the same life on him that he inflicted on me."

Iranian officials have endorsed the the sentence in the hope of halting an increase in the rate of acid attacks. But human rights activists have warned against an "inhumane" sentence.

The British Foreign Office urged Iran to halt the sentence. "The attack on Ameneh Bahrami in 2004 was a horrific crime," a spokesman said. "However, we are deeply concerned by reports that Majid Movahedi's sentence of being blinded by having acid dripped into his eyes may be carried out.

"The FCO calls on the Iranian authorities to commute this inhumane punishment to an appropriate sentence in line with Iran's international obligations and to cease the practice of corporal punishment for crimes."

Iranian media have reported that Movahedi will be blinded in both eyes but Bahrami, in an interview in 2009, said that the man would be blinded only in one eye because "each man is worth two women" under Iranian law.

"The person who did this deserves to go through the same suffering. Only this way will he understand my pain … my intention is to ask for the application of the law not just for revenge but also so that no other woman will have to go through this. It is to set an example," Bahrami was quoted by the Spanish newspaper ABC as saying.

Bahrami, who has an electronics degree and worked in a medical engineering company before the attack, moved to Spain with the help of the Iranian government where she has undergone a series of unsuccessful operations. She briefly recovered half vision in her right eye in 2007 but an infection blinded her again.

Bahrami has recently published a book in Germany, Eye for an Eye, based on her personal life and her suffering since she was blinded.

In recent months, human rights organisations have expressed alarm over the unprecedented increase of capital punishment in Iran, which last year executed more people than any other country apart from China.


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I think I saw that story on CNN this morning.

What was that someone once said about "An eye for an eye" leaving everyone blind?!?  Sad and frightening ... truly.

This is unquestionably a barbaric seeming response from our "enlightened progresive" pov here in the West. However, I donot at all see that this form of punishment is so much more cruel and inhuman than forcing someone to remain in prison for a lengthy stay. And, as I see it, the real victim here is the woman who was disfigured. I think the real miscarriage of justice would be if no punishment were administered to someone who inflicts this on a woman as this man did.

After a period of time, the death sentence was reinstituted here in America, when convicted multiple murderer, Gary Gilmore, argued that he would rather be put to death than remain in prison for life. He argued that, for him, life in prison was inhuman.

Due to the finality and totality of the death sentence, it is entirely posible to be against that, while still hold the position that lengthy stays in prison, are particularly cruel and inhuman, especially relatively speaking.

Imo, this is a case of, just because it is not how we choose to do it here, it doesnt mean that their methods are wrong or inferior to ours.
So, we're saying that because this person did this to another person, that the government is therefore empowered to do the same thing to the perpetrator by way of punishment?  Shouldn't the government be BETTER than those committing the crimes the government is tasked with correcting ... and maybe rehabilitating?  Should we also consider such punishment as is being proposed above as, at minimum, "cruel and unusual" and at maximum, torture?
This primitive form of justice is still very effective considering that it creates fear in the hearts of convicts. Although it can be very effective I do disagree with it considering how mankind has begun to pass its primitive stage. However, Paul Babcock, I do disagree with your use of moral relativism as I think for the most part when saying that "their methods are wrong or inferior" when in fact I feel that Western moral values is more superior to these more primitive religious societies.
I am not a big fan of moral relativism either in most cases. And I definetly have problems with empowering the state to administer this justice. I am not even saying I am sure this is the most right thing to do in response to the injustice perpetrated on this woman and women in general.

As to the moral relativism, I am saying that I donot think, in this case, that we have a right to be sure that prison is so more much more humane and less cruel than their form of punishment. I would be willing to bet, that, depending on the severity of the punitive maiming and length of the prison sentence (and condition of the prison, which I suspect is unimaginably appalling in Iran), that some of the guilty in this position, would opt for the maiming over prison.

As to the issue of empowering the state to do this, I share this concern, but I ask, "why is it particularly worse than empowering them to imprison someone?" I asked my wife what she thought would be a just response to that man maiming and disfiguring that woman. Her response was she thought the family of the victim should be allowed to pour acid onto the guilty mans face.

Theoretically speaking, I suppose another option would be for her family to imprison the man for a period of time. That is not implementable tho, as they would be unable to maintain this imprisonment. Idk what capabilities exist in Iran for society in general to imprison people for long stretches of time. In which case the other options are capital punishment or no punishment at all, both of which, I think, are far worse than maiming. Violence to women is, imo, by far the more serious affront to justice in Moslem countries like Iran.

We in the affluent West have the luxury, and maybe the responsibility to provide the expensive prison option. Idk that that is best or even viable for poorer societies. And without alternative to prison options, I cannot help but think that justice would suffer in those societies, particularly for women.

I am curious to know what the victim thinks of all this. I suspect that letting the perp get away with it is not something she would prefer.

Perhaps there's a nuance I'm missing but I support the victims decission to reject the money and request the acid. It's personal, it's face to face, it's equal (sort of, he get's the controlled drops where as she got a splash to the face). I think this punishment is so appropriate and precise it's almost surgical.
Yeah, I think it's disturbing to see people more up in arms about this guy who threw acid in a woman's face than about the woman who had acid thrown in her face by this bastard. He's put under anesthetic? He's getting off easy.
All I realy mean to be saying is that I donot think that we deserve to unquestionably be claiming the moral high ground solely because we have made the (imo) arbitrary decision that imprisoning the convicted is the only moral way to deal with them as it is (imo) potential just as cruel as any other form it punishment.

That it is revokable in cases of an error as Avicenna mentioned, is tho, a significant advantage to an extent anyway. Anyone falsely convicted and imprisoned for ten years is not going to get those ten years back any more than anyone would get back a body part. If the error is discovered and overturned only a year into it, then in that case, that it is revokable will turn out a huge advantage.

I am only nominally up on the particulars of this case, but my understanding is that in this case that is not a significant issue. Is there any question of his guilt. Were there any significantly mitigating circumstances like she was asking for it. I don't think so.

That the victim says she is willing to administer the punishment is of interest, but I wouldn't want a system of punishment to be based on that. As if it were, then only those who were not squeamish would ever get justice it seams. Thanks tho for giving that info. As it stands, if the perp gets aesthetics, then the loss and misery he put the victim thru significantly exceeds that that he will endure even if he is subjected to this punishment.



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