ISRAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN: Man forcibly blinded in one eye in 'unspeakably cruel' retribution punishment

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11 Mar 2015
[International Secretariat]

The deliberate blinding of a man who was convicted of pouring acid on another man's face causing him to go blind is a gruesome example of Iran's brutal justice system in action, said Amnesty International.

The man was forcibly blinded in his left eye on 3 March after being sentenced to “retribution-in-kind” (qesas) for throwing acid on the eyes of another man in the city of Qom in August 2009. The blinding of his right eye was postponed until a later date. In addition to this punishment he was ordered to pay "blood money" (diyah) and sentenced to 10 years in prison. 

“Punishing someone by deliberately blinding them is an unspeakably cruel and shocking act," said Raha Bahreini, Amnesty International's Iran Researcher.

"This punishment exposes the utter brutality of Iran’s justice system and underlines the Iranian authorities' shocking disregard for basic humanity. Meting out cruel and inhuman retribution punishments is not justice. Blinding, like stoning, amputation and flogging, is a form of corporal punishment prohibited by international law. Such punishments should not be carried out under any circumstances.”

"The fact that in the weeks leading to their session before the UN Human Rights Council, the Iranian authorities have scheduled the execution of juvenile offender Saman Naseem, carried out the execution of six Sunni men after grossly unfair trials, transferred an ailing prisoner of conscience Atena Farghadani to solitary confinement, and now carried out this macabre punishment speaks volumes about the hollowness of Iran's rhetoric on reform and human rights."

The punishment of another Iranian man, who was sentenced to being blinded and made deaf in a similar "retribution-in-kind" punishment that was also due to be implemented on 3 March, has been postponed until next month.

Amnesty International is urging the Iranian authorities to immediately stop carrying out these cruel punishments and only implement sentences in line with international human rights law. They must also initiate public education campaigns aimed at preventing acts of violence including acid attacks, and ensure that survivors of such attacks are provided with effective remedies, including psycho-social and medical rehabilitation.

5 March 2015

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