Jun 27, 2005
Amnesty International is calling for a sentence of eye gouging against a man in Iran not to be carried out. The 28-year-old man, known only as Vahid, has been sentenced to have his eyes surgically gouged out for a crime committed when he was 16 years old.
The Iranian Supreme Court rejected an appeal earlier this month and ordered that the punishment should be carried out.
It may now be inflicted at any time and Amnesty International has issued an 'Urgent Action' appeal against the sentence and is urging the authorities to abolish punishments such as eye-gouging which constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, amounting to torture.
Amnesty International UK Media Director Mike Blakemore said:
"This is a truly shocking case amounting to a sentence of judicial torture.
"We appeal to the Iranian authorities to guarantee that this punishment is not carried out and would further appeal to all medical practitioners in Iran to have nothing to do with this gruesome punishment."
According to Iranian press reports, Vahid was convicted of deliberately pouring acid from a battery on the face of another youth, Gholam-Hossein, blinding him. This took place in 1993, when Vahid had been working as a labourer in the capital, Tehran.
Vahid reportedly maintained throughout his trial that the attack was not intentional and that he had only meant to threaten the youth with the battery during an argument, but the battery?s lid had opened accidentally, causing the injury.
The trial court reportedly ordered that Vahid's eyes be sprayed with acid as retribution (qesas) for his actions. Vahid?s lawyer appealed, arguing that the rest of his face would also be damaged from the acid.
The appeal was reportedly rejected by a second court which ruled instead that Vahid's eyes would be surgically gouged out in order not to damage his face.
Vahid's lawyer is reportedly seeking clemency for his client from Gholam-Hossein's family.
Vahid has been asked to pay three billion Rials (approximately ?150,000) as diyeh (blood-money) to escape the punishment, but he has reportedly said that he does not have that much money.
Amnesty International's appeal on behalf of Vadim comes the day after International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (26 June) and is part of the organisation?s current campaign against all forms of torture, including torture in the 'war on terror'.
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