David Calling

Sulphuric Injustice

Majid Movahedi is an Iranian and in the available photograph he looks like any other young man. He pursued a woman called Ameneh Bahrami, and in the available photograph she is very pretty, smiling under the black niqab that covers her hair and head. She rejected his advances, whereupon he threw a bucket of sulphuric acid over her. In spite of seventeen operations her face is still appallingly disfigured, unrecognizable, and she remains blinded. Under the operative law of retribution, known as qisas, she has the right to blind him, literally to take “an eye for an eye.” The man’s father, and bodies like Amnesty, have tried to pressure her into showing mercy. She would relent, she says, if she received two million euros to take care of her future needs. In the absence of money, she will have retribution. A doctor is due today to pour sulphuric acid into the man’s eyes. “I wish I could drip it myself,” so Radio Free Europe quotes Ameneh. It is impossible to decide which of these stricken people, the doctor included, deserves the most pity. Imagine a country which likes to boast of its moral and spiritual superiority, its supposedly universal values, but where a horror of this kind passes for justice.

David Pryce-Jones is a British author and commentator and a senior editor of National Review.

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