An Iranian woman, blinded by a jilted stalker who threw acid in her face, has persuaded a court to sentence him to be blinded with acid himself under Islamic law demanding an eye for an eye.
Ameneh Bahrami refused to accept "blood money." She insisted instead that her attacker suffer a fate similar to her own "so people like him would realize they do not have the right to throw acid in girls' faces," she told the Tehran Provincial Court.
The three-judge panel ruled unanimously on November 26 that Majid should be blinded with acid and forced to pay compensation for the injuries to Bahrami's face, hands and body caused by the acid.
That was what she had demanded earlier in the trial. But she did not ask for his face to be disfigured, as hers was.
"Of course, only blind him and take his eyes, because I cannot behave the way he did and ask for acid to be thrown in his face," she said. "Because that would be [a] savage, barbaric act. Only take away his sight so that his eyes will become like mine. I am not saying this from a selfish motive. This is what society demands."
Look, obviously I don't support eye gouging as legitimate judicial punishment. Indeed, there are many aspects of Iran's judicial system that I dislike -- find quite savage, to tell the truth. But the least we can do is ask that their brutal demands are applied even-handedly, and here it appears they are. One of the key liberal prescriptions for ridding a society of oppressive practices is insuring they're applied across the board. If the majority has to contend with what they impose upon the minority, they're likely to have a sudden flash of sympathy and tolerance. In too many countries across the world, throwing acid at women who refuse to submit to male patriarchal demands -- whether it's refusing to marry or simply going to school -- is considered legitimate practice. It is a practice that deserves to be met by the full weight of the judicial system -- whatever that system is.
UPDATE: Jill of Feministe writes as well. I want to clarify that I don't disagree with her -- the punishment being imposed here is barbaric. But my point is that this is hardly distinct from Iran's judicial system as a whole. What makes this case important is that Iran is treating this crime as "seriously" as it does other violations of human personhood. Obviously, the manner in which Iran responds to "serious" crimes is in violation of any modern standard of human decency. I just don't think that it's any more problematic when Iran starts doing these sorts of things to penalize anti-woman activity as when they do similar things to penalize women themselves.