Eye for an eye to be carried out – literally

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. A thief's hand cut off. A man's, um, manhood chopped off for infidelity. A woman's tongue cut out for lying. 


Sound too harsh and archaic? In western society, yes. But in Iran, no. 


The Islamic code allows for this type of punishment, known as qisas, in cases of violent crime. In a recent case, in which a man named Mojtaba threw acid in the face of his wife's lover, Alireza, qisas was ruled.


All three people, including Mojtaba's wife, Mojdeh, live in Qom, near Iran's capital of Tehran. All three are 25 years old. When Mojtaba found out his wife was cheating on him, he threw acid in Alireza, blinding him.


After hearing the facts in a lower court, the penalty was handed down and subsequently upheld by Iran's supreme court.  The victim, apparently, requested the punishment, which is his right under Islamic law. It's the first time in 40 years the eye for an eye principle is being carried out.


Forensic specialists will be called in to oversee the blinding of Mojtaba.


Not all cases end in this type of punishment, although it is often invoked. Eye for an eye punishments are rarely carried out, and punishments can be waived if the victim accepts "blood" money in reparation. There have even been cases in Iran and Saudi Arabia in which convicted murderers have been set free after the victim's family decides to be merciful.


In August, a Saudi man convicted of paralyzing a man in a cleaver attack was sentenced to have his spinal cord cut as punishment. But the punishment was not carried out. And in February 2009, a university student in Iran was sentenced to be blinded in both eyes for hurling acid in the face of a female classmate who had refused his proposal of marriage. This sentence was also not carried out.


The qisas sentences are controversial, and human rights groups feel they are abhorrent forms of judicial torture.


Kind of makes you glad we live in America, huh?


Published Monday, December 13, 2010 2:25 PM by bulldog
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