Eye for an eye, literally

After her spurned stalker attacks her with acid, a woman requests he receive the same treatment.

Published December 16, 2008 4:00PM (EST)

After Ameneh Bahrami turned down his marriage proposal, Majid Movahedi attempted to change her mind -- by stalking her and threatening to kill himself. When those approaches didn't win over his unrequited love, the spurned stalker approached her in a busy public park in Tehran and poured a bucket of acid on her head. "It felt like my head was stuck in a bowl of boiling water," Bahrami told the Washington Post. "I bent forward to allow the stuff to drip off my face, but the pain was intolerable. I fell on the pavement, screaming for help." Despite a series of surgeries, the 31-year-old was left blind and disfigured.

Her attacker confessed to the acid attack, explaining that he did it "so that she would be mine forever," and was jailed -- but Bahrami refused to accept the usual monetary remuneration for the crime. Instead, she asked for eye-for-an-eye retribution. "[The head of Iran's judiciary] really pressed me to demand blood money instead of retribution. He explained that such a sentence would cause lots of bad publicity for Iran. But I refused," she said.  Last month, an Iranian judge sentenced Movahedi to five drops of acid in each of his eyes.

The Post, which does a nice job of profiling Bahrami, reports that "the implementation of corporal punishments allowed under Islamic law, including lashing, amputation and stoning, has often provoked controversy in Iran, where many people have decried such sentences as barbaric." But this case has received an unusual outpouring of sympathy, and "protest has been muted because people have been moved by Bahrami's story."

Some, including Bahrami, believe that this punishment will prevent future acid attacks. She says: "At an age at which I should be putting on a wedding dress, I am asking for someone's eyes to be dripped with acid. I am doing that because I don't want this to happen to any other women." Somehow, I seriously doubt that Movahedi's punishment will accomplish that.

It's also worth taking note of Movahedi's response to his sentencing: He "said that he still loved Bahrami but that if she asked for his eyes to be taken out, he would seek the same punishment for her." As they say about eye-for-an-eye...

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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