Health

Iranian Woman Pardons Man Who Blinded Her; Could You?

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

In a dramatic, 11th-hour about-face, an Iranian woman pardoned the man who viciously blinded her in an acid attack, stopping a literal "eye-for-an-eye" punishment.

In 2004, female Ameneh Bahrami turned down a marriage proposal from Majid Movahedi, who responded by throwing acid in her face, blinding and disfiguring her forever.

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He was convicted in 2008 and, under Islamic law, Bahrami could have demanded eye for an eye retribution. That is what she chose, in fact, although a court ruled Movahedi could only be blinded in one eye.

After some legal back and forth, sentencing day was set for Sunday.

With Movahedi on his knees and a doctor standing over him, waiting to drop acid into his eye, the doctor asked Bahrami, "What do you want to do now?"

"I forgave him, I forgave him," the 34-year-old Bahrami responded in a dramatic scene that was broadcast on Iran's state television.

"It is best to pardon when you are in a position of power," Bahrami said.

Movahedi said Bahrami was "very generous," adding "I couldn't imagine being blinded by acid." Then he curled up against a wall and cried.

Iran's ISNA news agency reports that prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi said Movahedi would remain in jail until a court decides on an alternative punishment. He said Movahedi will have to pay financial compensation to Bahrami. She has asked for up to $200,000.

Amnesty International was happy the blinding was stopped, but called on Iran to change its laws.

"The Iranian authorities should review the penal code as a matter of urgency to ensure those who cause intentional serious physical harm, like acid attacks, receive an appropriate punishment — but that must never be a penalty which in itself constitutes torture," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.