Blinding verdict puts Iran’s retaliatory laws in the spotlight

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In a rare verdict, an Iranian who blinded his neighbor during a fight in 2018 was sentenced to eye-level blindness under Islamic retribution law.

In Iran, where Islamic law was reintroduced after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, blind judgments were seldom passed.

In many cases, the victims stopped punishing and agreed financial compensation, known as “blood money”, with the perpetrators.

But a 40-year-old man from Tehran, who was blinded by his neighbor with a knife, is calling for the law of retaliation to be applied literally.

Islamic law adheres to the term “an eye for an eye” according to the Qisas principle. In such cases, victims or their families have the final say and can stop the punishment.

The implementation of corporal punishments under Islamic law, including lashes, amputations and blindness, are controversial in Iran, where they have been criticized by many citizens as inhuman and barbaric.

Human rights groups have said the sentences violate international law and amount to torture and the cruel treatment of convicts.

“I’ve suffered a lot”

Iranian media reported on October 9th about the blinding judgment handed down in Tehran. It was not clear when the court itself would announce its decision.

It came after the unnamed victim requested a retaliatory sentence.

The also unidentified perpetrator said he had no intention of blinding his neighbor when he attacked him with a knife.

However, the victim said they were unwilling to show mercy or agree to financial compensation.

“I’ve suffered a lot in these four years, and I have no intention of forgiving [the perpetrator]“, The man was quoted by the Iranian government newspaper.

The Retaliation Act allows victims and their families to seek retaliation for homicide or assault. The punishment in such cases should be commensurate with the crime.

Convicts have 20 days to appeal their judgments under Iranian law.

“Total brutality”

In the past, victims have agreed to spare their attackers in exchange for compensation. Convicted attackers also faced prison sentences.

In a 2011 case that received widespread media attention, a court ordered a man who blinded and severely disfigured a woman in 2014 to drip acid in his eyes.

The sentence was not carried out after victim Ameneh Bahrami – who originally supported the sentence and agreed to do it herself – pardoned her attacker. Instead, she asked for compensation for her medical expenses.

“The Koran gives you the right to retaliation,” Bahrami told RFE / RL’s Radio Farda. “But it is precisely this Koran that encourages you to forgive, because forgiveness is one of the highest moral standards.”

It is believed that only two delusion judgments have been carried out in Iran since 1979.

In March 2015, a man convicted of blinding another man in an acid attack was blinded in one eye by medics who excavated his left eye, according to a report in Hamshahri newspaper quoted by The Guardian.

The report said the man passed out during the trial.

Activists have said that requiring doctors to impose such sentences is against medical codes of ethics.

In the past, Iranian officials admitted that it was difficult to find healthcare professionals willing to carry out the punishment.

Amnesty International has blown the sentence, stating that it “exposes the utter brutality of the Iranian judicial system and underscores the shocking disregard for fundamental humanity by the Iranian authorities”.

“The imposition of cruel and inhuman retaliatory sentences is not fair,” added the human rights group.

A year later, in November 2016, another man who attacked a four-year-old girl with lime, a potentially toxic substance, and made her blind was blinded in both eyes.

Iranian media reports said the verdict was carried out in the presence of a court official and “relevant specialists”.


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