Iran Sentences Convict to be Blinded Under Islamic Retribution Law

An Iranian man has been sentenced to be blinded after he caused a man to lose the use of one eye following a brutal fight in 2018. The sentence is based on the Islamic eye-for-an-eye retribution law.

The punishment was handed down in accordance with the Iranian legal principle of qisas (retribution), in which those convicted of violent crimes can be subjected to retaliation in kind – or quite literally, "an eye for an eye", reported the IranWire news website.

The defendant in this case, a 45-year-old man had a violent altercation with his neighbor in Fasham, a city in Tehran province in 2018. The other party, a 40-year-old man, was badly beaten up and lost the sight in his right eye, according to the local media.

The victim has demanded a literal application of the retribution law. The case was sent to Tehran's criminal court after he lodged a complaint.

Iran's Retribution Laws

Blinding has been deployed as a very rare criminal punishment in Iran since in the past decade.

Iran's legal system produces such verdicts by practicing an "eye for an eye" approach to justice on the basis of 7th century Islamic jurisprudence, according to the Time magazine. These principles effectively offer victims of violent crime two legal choices, forgiveness or qesas.

In many cases, victims have halted the punishment and agreed financial compensation, or so-called "blood" money, with the perpetrators.

But the victim in this case has said that he is not ready to show clemency or agree to financial compensation.

"I suffered a lot during these four years, and I have no intention of forgiving [the perpetrator]," the man said, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The retribution law allows victims and their families to demand retaliation for homicide or bodily harm. The punishment in such cases should be proportionate to the crime.

Convicts have 20 days to appeal their verdicts under Iranian law.

Unspeakably Cruel and Shocking Acts

As reported by The New Arab, the brutal punishment was first handed down in 2008 against an individual who was found guilty of an acid attack, although the victim, Ameneh Bahrami chose to pardon the man at the last minute.

In 2015, Iranian medics gouged out the eye of a man who had also been found guilty of an acid attack.

Iran on map of Asia
Iran (marked in red) Wikimedia Commons

A man from Qorveh, Kurdistan province, was also blinded in both eyes in November 2016 for throwing lime into the face of his four-year-old niece, blinding her.

At the time of the first cases, Amnesty International called the punishment "horrific" and said the Iranian judiciary was displaying "disregard of the basic principles of humanity."

Raha Bahreini, a researcher with Amnesty International's Iran team told the Guardian, "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."