Thursday, February 19, 2009

Iranian Woman Gets an Eye for an Eye

I guess they really do go for the old eye for an eye punishment. She should be happy she's not in Saudi Arabia, otherwise they'd probably sentence her to lashes for being near this maniac.
One day soon, Ameneh Bahrami hopes Majid Mohavedi will be deliberately and slowly blinded. Sulphuric acid will be dropped into his eyes in a punishment mandated by a court in Tehran, Iran.

His crime: In 2004, he threw the same acid in Ms. Bahrami's face, blinding the 24-year-old electronics graduate.

Her crime: She had spurned his advances and refused to marry him, despite numerous approaches from his family, who are also considered complicit in the attack.

"I don't want to blind him for revenge," Ms. Bahrami, 31, told CNN in an interview in her parents' Tehran apartment.

"I'm doing this to prevent it from happening to someone else."

The two met in 2002 when they attended the same university. But Ms. Bahrami said the shy 19-year-old was merely a classmate who insisted on sitting next to her and brushing against her.

Once she stood up in class and screamed to get him to stop, the woman added.

But he continued to stalk her and make threats, even as he asked her to marry him.

"He told me he would kill me," she said. "He said, ‘You have to say yes.' "

His threats finally erupted into violence in November, 2004, when she was waiting at a bus stop after leaving the medical engineering company where she worked.

She said she sensed someone moving behind her. Turning round, she discovered Mohavedi, then felt a blinding pain as he tossed acid into her face.

The corrosive liquid dripped down her neck and on to her hands and arms as she tried to protect herself, leaving the young woman looking as though her flesh had melted.

Despite 17 operations, she lost one eye and has only limited sight in the other. Her face remains scarred, but she has run out of money for further surgery.

Two weeks after the attack, Mohavedi turned himself into police and confessed. He was convicted in 2005.

Attack victims in Iran usually accept "blood money:" a fine in lieu of harsh punishment. With no insurance and mounting medical bills, Ms. Bahrami could have used the cash, but she said no.

Asked by the judge if she wanted Mohavedi's face to be splashed with acid, she replied, "That is impossible and horrific. Just drip 20 drops of acid in his eyes so he can realize what pain I am undergoing."

"I told the judge I want an eye for an eye," she said in the CNN interview aired yesterday.

"People like him should be made to feel my suffering."

The punishment is legal under the Islamic Shariah principle of qias, equivalence or analogy, which allows retribution for violent crimes. The principle is also found in the Code of Hammurabi and the Old Testament.

Ms. Bahrami's lawyer, Ali Sarrafi, said Mohavedi had never shown any remorse.

"He says he did it because he loved her," Mr. Sarrafi said.

He told the court he still loved Ms. Bahrami, but if she asked for his eyes to be taken out, he would seek the same punishment for her.

"They must also completely empty out her eyes, since I'm not sure that she cannot secretly see," he said, according to a report in The Washington Post.

"The newspapers have made this a huge case, but I haven't done anything bad."

Acid attacks on women are common in Muslim countries, often because the victims refuse to marry the assailants or as a way of controlling them.

In November, Taliban insurgents sprayed acid on girls walking to school in Kandahar, blinding at least two of them.

Two weeks ago, Iran's Supreme Court rejected Mohavedi's appeal and upheld the blinding.

The punishment is expected to be carried out soon.

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