Will the Iranian authorities remain blind to human rights?

Thankfully the judicial blinding of a man in Iran, which created a lot of news interest over the weekend, has been postponed.

Majid Movahedi was sentenced to “retribution in kind” (qesas) in 2008 after he poured a bucket of acid over Ameneh Bahrami, who had rejected his marriage proposal several times. A Tehran court ordered that five drops of acid be placed in each of his eyes. The sentence was reportedly due to be carried out on Saturday 14 May.

Of course, his victim is entitled to justice. A horrific crime was committed against her: Ameneh Bahrani was left blind and deeply disfigured by the attack, with 17 separate operations to reconstruct her face . Women in Iran are subject to many forms of violence – in their homes, in the street and at the hands of the government, which the authorities have a duty firstly to prevent and then to provide redress for victims.

But to deliberately blind someone in the name of justice would be cruel and inhuman treatment and tantamount to torture.

The Iranian authorities should ensure that this punishment is not carried out.

We’re monitoring the situation as the punishment has only been postponed and could, theoretically, be carried out at any time. Hopefully the sheer level of global attention will ensure that it is not.

I can see why some people may not have a lot of sympathy with a man who, allegedly, poured a bucket of acid over a woman in retaliation at her not wanting to marry him. I don’t either. But seeking to blind him would not be a humane punishment.

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