In a literal case of “an eye-for-an-eye,” an Iranian man reportedly had his left eye gouged out, in line with Sharia law, after he was convicted of a vicious acid attack which left another man badly scarred and blind for life.
The attacker, who has not been identified for legal reasons, was put to sleep at the Rajaishahr prison in the city of Karaj on Tuesday, as doctors gouged out his left eye.
The punishment has been attacked as barbaric by some people, including Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam from Iran Human Rights (IHR), an independent NGO based in Norway.
“Medical staff who co-operate with the Iranian authorities in this act have broken the Hippocratic oath and cannot call themselves doctors,” he said.
Following the attack, which left the victim blinded and disfigured for life, a Sharia court sentenced the man to be blinded in both eyes as well as ten years in prison.
Nevertheless, under Iranian law, the victim has the final say in such sentences, and at the last minute the acid attack victim decided to postpone the blinding of the right eye for another six months.
Acid attacks in Iran have been increasing in recent years, mainly taking place due to family feuds. This has left authorities in Iran scrambling to establish a meaningful deterrent for would-be attackers.
But as Raha Bahreini, a researcher with Amnesty International’s Iran team, said to reporters, “Blinding is totally prohibited under international law, along with stoning, flogging, amputation and other forms of corporal punishment provided in Iran’s Islamic penal code, and must not be carried out under any circumstances.”
Bahreini suggested that the authorities, “should raise awareness about violence including root causes, ensure that perpetrators of acid attacks are punished with appropriate and proportionate penalties consistent with international human rights norms, and survivors are provided with effective remedies, including compensation and psycho-social and medical rehabilitation.”
One highly publicised Iranian acid attack victim, Ameneh Bahrami, received international acclaim when she pardoned her attacker, despite being blinded in both eyes herself and disfigured, simply for refusing to marry her assailant.