Eye to eye share – the law of revenge in Iran


An Iranian man who blinded a neighbor during a quarrel in 2018 has been sentenced by a court to blindness under the Islamic retaliation law “eye for an eye”.

In Iran, where Islamic law has been in place since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, this sentence is rarely handed down.

In many cases, the victim and the offender are separated and the convict has to pay financial compensation instead of blindness or other appropriate punishment.

In this case, a 40-year-old Tehran man, who blinded a neighbor with a cold weapon during a fight, demanded the enactment of a law of revenge to punish the perpetrator and use it literally.

According to the Kisas principle, Islamic law protects the concept of “eye for an eye”. However, the last word in the execution of the sentence is about the victim, or the relatives of the victim. They can suspend execution.

Some forms of punishment under Islamic law, such as mutilation, amputation, or blindness, have provoked protests among Iranians. They claim that these forms of punishment are inhuman and barbaric.

Human rights activists claim that such forms of punishment, which include torture and inhuman treatment of convicts, violate international law.

“I am not ready to forgive”

According to the “Law of Revenge”, the Iranian media reported on the punishment of blindness on October 9. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. It is known that such revenge was demanded by the victim.

The identities of both the victim and the convict are unknown. The offender claims that he did not predetermine the blindness of the neighbor. Still, the victim says he is not ready to show tolerance and agree to monetary compensation.

“I have suffered a lot for 4 years. Therefore, I am not ready to forgive, “the Iranian government said in a statement.

Under Iranian law, a convict has 20 days to appeal the verdict.

“Complete Cruelty”

In the past, there was some sort of agreement that the victims would save the attackers in exchange for compensation. In addition to compensation, in some cases convicts also face imprisonment.

In one of the most high-profile cases, in 2014, a court convicted a convicted man of burning eye acid. In 2011, he mutilated and blinded a woman.

However, the sentence was not carried out – the female victim pardoned the assailant despite the fact that she initially demanded the application of the “law of revenge”. In exchange for serving his sentence, he demanded monetary compensation to cover his own medical expenses.

“The Qur’an gives you the right to retribution, but the same Qur’an also calls for tolerance, because forgiveness is one of the highest moral standards,” said Bahrami, who pardoned the perpetrator, speaking to RFE / RL’s Iranian Service.

Since 1979, the sentence of blindness in Iran has been officially executed only twice.

In the past, the Iranian authorities have acknowledged that it was difficult to find medical professionals who would agree to serve this type of sentence.

These forms of punishment have been criticized by Amnesty International. The group says this is “the complete cruelty of the Iranian justice system.”