In 2004, Majid Movahedi threw a cup of sulfuric acid in Ameneh Bahrami's face because she refused to marry him after years of sexual harassment. She was left blind and disfigured, and fought in Iranian court for the right to do the same to Movahedi. Three years ago the the court ordered that five drops of the chemical be put in his eyes, but today Bahrami granted him a pardon minutes before the sentence was to be carried out.
The Guardian reports that since the sentence was announced, it was widely condemned by the international community. Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa deputy director, urged Iranian authorities to review the penal code and said, "Deliberate blinding inflicted by a medical expert is a cruel punishment which amounts to torture, which is prohibited under international law."
Originally, Bahrami said she was pursuing the punishment because she wanted to set an example for Iranians that acid attacks against women won't be tolerated. She stepped in to stop Movahedi's blinding after he had already been given anesthetic, but told CNN she never intended to go through with it. She explained to Iran's state-sponsored news agency:
"I feel very good. I'm happy that I pardoned him ... For seven years I've been trying to pursue retribution and to prove that the punishment for an acid attack is retribution but today I decided to pardon him. This was my right but in future the next victim might not do the same."
Acid attacks on women are so horrific that on an emotional level, blinding Movahedi feels like an appropriate punishment. However, living in a just society means that sometimes we have to put aside our desire for revenge for the greater good of not having governments that throw acid in people's faces. It's impressive that Bahrami was able to pardon her attacker, and say even after what she's been through that, "Each of us, individually, must try and treat others with respect and kindness in order to have a better society."
Though unfortunately, those involved aren't following her example. After calling off the blinding, she asked for financial compensation instead, which is usually $200,000 in these types of cases. Now she has to fight with authorities in Iran to get the full amount, which she intends to use for medical bills, because the law says she should only receive half because she's a woman.
Then there's this:
... She said Movahedi is unrepentant and has been rude to her, even after she halted his punishment.
Sometimes being the bigger person really sucks.
Earlier: Eye For An Eye