Eye vs Eye

18
Behold, the most literal interpretation of “an eye for an eye”* I have ever seen.
An Iranian court has sentenced a man to have his eyes surgically removed for a crime he committed as a teenager 12 years ago. Amnesty International has condemned the sentence, reported in the Iranian daily Etemaad, but local human rights groups say these unusual punishments are hardly ever executed.
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Etemaad says the accused, identified only as Vahid, was 16 when he threw a bottle of acid at another man during a fight in a vegetable market in 1993. The top opened – Vahid insists accidentally – and blinded his victim in both eyes. A court said the crime should be judged as qisas, a category for which the Koran stipulates specific punishments, in this case an eye for an eye. The paper said the sentence was to pour acid on Vahid’s eyes, but an appeals court ruled it should be done surgically so as not to harm other parts of his face. Amnesty described the sentence as “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment amounting to torture”. It called for a change of sentence.
 
Human rights and legal specialists in Iran say unusual sentences are sometimes passed by Islamic courts, which are bound by rigid Koran injunctions for certain crimes. But they say these punishments are usually used as leverage for the amount of compensation to be paid by the offender to the victim.
 
In this case, the victim seeks £180,000, which a board of arbitration is trying to reduce because the defendant says he cannot pay. The board is also trying to persuade the victim’s family to give up their demand that the crime should be classed as qisas.
* For the record, “an eye for an eye” in Jewish law entails monetary compensation, rather than a literal concept of exact retribution. 

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An Aussie immigrant to Israel, David Lange is founder and managing editor of Israellycool. He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and single malt whisky.