Iran Human Rights, July 31: The retribution sentence of a man convicted of throwing acid in the face of a woman was set to take place this morning in Tehran but it was not implemented. Majid Movahedi was pardoned by Ameneh Bahrami, according to a report by the Iranian state-run news agency ISNA.
“By the request of the acid attack victim Ameneh Bahrami, Majid (Movahedi), who was sentenced to ‘qesas’ (an ‘eye for an eye’-style justice), was pardoned last minute after Ameneh Bahrami decided to forgo her right [to retribution]," said the report.
Majid Movahedi was sentenced by a Tehran court to blinding by ten drops of sulfuric acid in 2008. His crime was splashing acid on Ameneh Bahrami four years earlier because she had allegedly spurned his marriage proposals. The acid had severely burned Ameneh Bahrami’s face and blinded her. The retribution sentence was approved by the Iranian Supreme Court in February 2009.
Ameneh Bahrami told ISNA in an interview today that she pardoned Majid Movahedi because, “God talks about qesas (retribution) in the Qur’an but he also recommends pardon, because it is greater than qesas.”
“I did it for my country, since all other countries were looking to see what we would do,” she added.
Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi hailed Ameneh Bahrami’s decision but also said that the Judiciary would have carried out the acid blinding punishment.
The sentence was about to be carried out once before in May 2011, but it was halted by the Iranian authorities without any official reason(s) given. It is believed that the massive international pressure the case received was instrumental in the decision by Iranian authorities to postpone the punishment.
According to knowledgeable sources who wanted to stay anonymous, the acid blinding case had become a headache for the Iranian authorities because of the growing international condemnations. They did not want to lose face by giving in to the pressure.
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of Iran Human Rights (IHR) welcomed the decision of cancelling the acid blinding sentence. "We ask for the removal of barbaric punishments like stoning, blinding and amputations. These medieval sentences are currently a part of the Iranian penal law," he said.
IHR congratulates Ameneh Bahrami for not taking part in the grotesque punishment and urges the Iranian authorities to help Ameneh Bahrami so she may receive the needed medical treatment and economic compensation.
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said, "We express our compassion with Ameneh Bahrami. As an Iranian citizen, Ameneh Bahrami deserves to get her medical treatment covered by the Iranian government and receive economic compensation for losing years of her life."