An Iranian man who blinded a 4-year-old girl has himself been blinded in a punishment described as a literal “eye-for-an-eye” form of retribution for the young victim.
As the Daily Mail reports, the unidentified man threw acid on a 4-year-old girl in 2009. The specifics of the crime are not clear, and it has not been made known where or how or why he brutally attacked the young girl. Mohammad Shahriari, the head of criminal affairs for the Tehran prosecutor’s office, would only say that the attack left the girl blind.
“In 2009, this man threw lime into the face of a little girl of four years in the Sanandaj region, leaving her blind.”
Under Islamic law, a crime victim has several options for getting justice from his or her assailant, as opposed to Western law, where the punishment is usually the incarceration of the assailant, leaving little or nothing to the victim. One option is referred to in the Western media as “blood money” — that is, the victim (or his or her family) accepts a mutually-agreed-upon sum of money in exchange for a lighter prison sentence (or no prison sentence).
Another option — and the option which came into play here — is the so-called “law of retribution.” This means that the victim directs the court to inflict the same injury on their assailant that was done to them. The concept dates back thousands of years; you may recall that the Bible mentions “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” metaphorically as a fair way to right a wrong.
And some Islamic nations even observe the concept of “qisas,” in which, according to the Sun, the victim himself can deal out the punishment to his or her assailant.
“Today, the law of retribution was applied in my presence and that of experts.”
This is not the first time Iran has allowed a victim of an acid attack to get “justice” by having the same thing done to their attackers.
— Mehr Iran (@IranianSolidar8) October 17, 2016
Mojtaba Saheli, for example, was convicted of blinding a taxi driver with acid in 2009. Just last year, news emerged from Iran that he had been blinded in one eye as the first phase of his punishment. The second phase of his punishment, the destruction of his remaining eye, is scheduled to take place any minute now.
Similarly, in 2011, a young Iranian woman named Ameneh Bahrami was blinded and disfigured in an acid attack.
— CNRI Femmes (@CNRIfemmes) May 26, 2016
Her attacker was scheduled to be blinded in retribution, but Bahrami called it off at the last minute, saying she didn’t want her attacker to endure what she went through.
According to the Gatestone Institute, acid attacks are an all-too-common crime in Iran, as well as elsewhere in the Middle East, parts of Africa, and India.
“Victims of acid violence are attacked for many reasons, and the patterns of attack vary from country to country. Sometimes they result from domestic or land disputes, dowry demands or revenge. In many cases they are a form of gender based violence, perhaps because a young girl or woman spurned sexual advances or rejected a marriage proposal.”
Even though acid attacks are unspeakably cruel, several human rights groups take exception to the idea of their victims getting justice by inflicting the same pain and suffering on their attackers. Amnesty International, for example, calls on Iran to put an end to the practice.
“Amnesty International is urging the Iranian authorities to immediately stop carrying out these cruel punishments and only implement sentences in line with international human rights law. They must also initiate public education campaigns aimed at preventing acts of violence including acid attacks, and ensure that survivors of such attacks are provided with effective remedies, including psycho-social and medical rehabilitation.”
Do you think Iran is doing the right thing in allowing victims of acid attacks to blind their own attackers as punishment?
[Featured Image by nito/Shutterstock]