London, 30 May – Five Iranian prisoners are awaiting sentences of blinding or deafening with acid; a punishment allowed under the regime’s fundamentalist law of retribution.
The men are being held in Iran’s notorious Gohardasht Prison in Karaj, north-west of Tehran.
Iranian officials are pushing for the sentence to be carried out soon but doctors have so far refused to administer the terrible punishment according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Dr. Sanabargh Zahedi, chair of the Judicial Committee of the NCRI, said: “The inhumane law of retribution (qisas) has been implemented against the Iranian people for the past 37 years. These punishments date back to the medieval ages and show the clerical regime’s reactionary nature. These inhuman punishments are clear violations of all principles and norms of a modern judiciary, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and all civil and political covenants. Such punishments undoubtedly constitute a savage form of torture and should be condemned by any freedom-seeking person. The Iranian Resistance and NCRI members have since 1980 condemned the regime’s qisas law as anti-human”.
He added: “According to the logic of the Quran and modern democratic Islam the first principle which applies to the penal code is dynamism. Thus, the Islamic penal provision should be interpreted within the context of social and economic conditions and scientific progress. The clerical regime is centuries away from this logic and as such it is clear that there is no possibility of reform within this regime”.
One of the men awaiting the sentence is Mojtaba Saheli, 31, who was previously blinded in his left eye by the regime.
Mr. Saheli allegedly blinded a taxi driver with acid in 2009 and the court sentenced him to be blinded in both eyes, pay a fine and serve 10 years in prison.
He was blinded in his left eye last year after the horrific punishment was upheld by Iran’s highest court.
Shortly after, Amnesty International released a statement condemning Iran’s cruel treatment.
Raha Bahreini, Amnesty International’s Iran Researcher, said: “This punishment exposes the utter brutality of Iran’s justice system and underlines the Iranian authorities’ shocking disregard for basic humanity. Meting out cruel and inhuman retribution punishments is not justice. Blinding, like stoning, amputation, and flogging, is a form of corporal punishment prohibited by international law. Such punishments should not be carried out under any circumstances”.
He was told that if he paid further money, he could avoid being blinded for a second time. Until now, no doctor has broken their oath but the regime warns that doctors could change their mind at any time.
The other prisoners awaiting punishment include Fatollah Khojasteh, who is to be blinded in one eye and deafened in one ear with acid and three unnamed prisoners; one sentenced to blinding in one eye, one sentenced to both eyes and one sentenced to blinding in one eye and being made deaf in one ear.