Iranís 'eye for an eye' acid punishment postponed after outcry

Tehran, May 16: An Iranian court took an 11th hour decision to postpone its 'eye for an eye' verdict that allowed a convicted man to be blinded by a 32 year-old female victim who underwent the same kind of treatment after turning down his marriage proposal.

The woman, Ameneh Bahrami, was left blind and disfigured after Majid Movahedi threw sulphuric acid in her eyes at a bus-stand after he had begged her in vain to marry him.

Iranian authorities did not reveal why the sentence was not carried out, but the country had been under international pressure over its judgement, with Amnesty International saying that the sentence was "a cruel and inhuman punishment amounting to torture".

Many in Iran, however, believe that forgiving the convict could encourage similar kind of crimes in the future.

"There's no doubt public opinion inside Iran has been stirred up. There's been a huge outpouring of sympathy for both of them, and this puts pressure on the government," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Iranian women's rights activist Asieh Amini, as saying.

Bahrami, who had pushed for qesas - a form of retributive justice under Sharia law, had earlier said that she wants to carry out the punishment to set an example for people that committing such a crime could spoil their lives.

"I've suffered so much in these years but now I am really happy. The verdict is completely legal and I would like to carry it out. But if it is not possible, then the physician designated by the judiciary will do it," she had said.

"I want people like him to know that they will suffer forever if they cause someone such suffering. I want him to be punished foremost. But if there are human rights considerations, then I'll accept ?2 million and his life imprisonment," she added.

Although arrangements were made for her to inject twenty drops of acid in each of her attacker's eyes in a Tehran hospital, the court had given her an option to change her mind.

Bahrami, however, remained firm on her decision despite receiving death threats because of her determination to exact revenge.

Copyright Asian News International/