A man’s eye has been gouged out in Iran in a literal application of the country’s “eye for an eye” interpretation of Sharia law.
He is accused of blinding another man in an acid attack and was sentenced to lose both his eyes as punishment, although the removal of his second eye has reportedly been delayed.
It was unclear whether the unnamed prisoner’s left eye was taken out by doctors or his victim, who has the power under the Islamic “qisas” law to personally inflict his punishment.
Iran’s government-owned Hamshahri newspaper reported that the sentence was carried out on Tuesday at Rajaishahr prison.
The prisoner was reportedly sentenced to blindness in both eyes, payment of blood money, “diyya”, and 10 years imprisonment.
Iran Human Rights (IHR) condemned the punishment and urged the international community to take action against Iran’s Sharia-based penal code that sees the death penalty handed out for robbery, treason, murder, “sodomy” and rape, among other crimes.
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, a spokesperson for the Norway-based human rights organisation, said: “Iranian authorities have shown yet another side of their brutality and inhumane practice…medical staff who co-operate with the Iranian authorities in this act have broken the Hippocratic oath and cannot call themselves doctors.”
Another alleged acid attacker was due to be blinded on the same day but his punishment was dramatically delayed at the last minute by his victim.
The prisoner, identified a Hamid, was sentenced to have one eye blinded and an ear cut off for an alleged attack on Davoud Roushanaei, who was badly disfigured by the attack.
Mr Roushanaei told the Guardian: “Hamid was about to be rendered unconscious on the bed when his father entered the room and asked me for more time.
“I gave them two more months to provide me with compensation for my treatment.”
The punishment had already been postponed because doctors refused to carry it out, IHR reported in January.
Iran vowed to crack down on acid attacks after a spate of assaults against women in Isfahan, the country’s third-largest city, last year.
Under Iranian law, victims or their families can ask a court's permission to enact "qisas" either by taking the perpetrator's life in murder cases or afflicting an equal injury to his or her body.
Victims then have the power to pardon their victims completely, as was the case in 2011 when Ameneh Bahrami renounced her demand to have her attacker blinded as he waited in the operating theatre.
At 24 years old, she was an engineering student when Majid Movahedi threw a bucket of acid in her face in 2004 because she repeatedly turned down his proposals of marriage.
Iranian state television aired footage of Movahedi preparing to have acid dropped in each of his eyes before he burst into tears of gratitude after learning he had been spared.
Amnesty International denounced the sentence as a “cruel and inhuman punishment amounting to torture”.
In April last year, a convicted murderer in Iran who killed a boy in a street fight when they were both 17 years old was physically saved from the noose by his victim’s parents.
They were expected to push away the chair Balal Abdullah stood on and watch him hang but in dramatic scenes, the victim’s mother instead slapped him around the face and signalled her forgiveness.
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