Image: Ameneh Bahrami
Alberto Estevez  /  EPA
Iranian Ameneh Bahrami displays portraits showing her before she was blinded in a 2004 acid attack by a man she had refused to marry. This photo was taken in 2009 in Madrid. staff and news service reports
updated 5/14/2011 10:40:15 AM ET 2011-05-14T14:40:15

Iran has postponed blinding a convicted man in retribution for throwing acid in the face of a woman in 2004, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Saturday.

A court sentenced Majid Mohavedi in 2008 to be blinded in both eyes for taking away the sight of Ameneh Bahrami by pouring acid in her face after she spurned his offers of marriage.

Under Iran's Islamic law, imposed since the 1979 Islamic revolution, qesas (retribution) is permitted in cases where bodily injuries are inflicted.

"The punishment of Majid was scheduled to be carried out on Saturday at a hospital but it has been postponed," Fars quoted an unnamed official as saying, without giving details.

The Guardian newspaper reported, citing Iranian media, that Bahrami herself would drop acid in both eyes of Movahedi, 30, after he was rendered unconscious.

In 2004, Mohavedi threw acid at Bahrami's face, blinding the then 24-year-old electronics graduate in both eyes for refusing to marry him, despite several approaches from his family, who are also considered complicit in the attack.

Bahrami, whose hands, neck and face were also disfigured in the attack, said she did not want to take revenge, but wanted to "prevent it from happening to someone else."

Mohavedi turned himself to the police and confessed in 2005.

International appeals for mercy
Bahrami and her lawyer were not aware that the punishment had been postponed, the students news agency ISNA reported.

"I haven't got any official news on the postponement of the verdict," ISNA quoted her lawyer Ali Sarrafi as saying. "The verdict has been issued by the court and it is legally enforceable unless it is postponed due to legal reasons."

Judiciary officials were not available for comment.

Amnesty International has urged Iran not to carry out the sentence, saying: "the Iranian authorities have a responsibility under international law to ensure it does not go ahead."

"Regardless of how horrific the crime suffered by Ameneh Bahrami, being blinded with acid is a cruel and inhuman punishment amounting to torture," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director for Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Program.

The Washington Post reported that human rights groups and the British government had asked Bahrami to pardon Movahedi but that she had refused.

"I have been receiving numerous phone calls from Iranian human rights organizations based abroad," Bahrami told the Post in a phone interview Friday. "They are pressuring me to pardon him. But I won't do that."

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Video: Iranian woman's acid revenge postponed

  1. Closed captioning of: Iranian woman's acid revenge postponed

    >>> revenge delayed. an iranian woman blinded in an acid attack by a scorned lover in 2004 went to court in tehran today. she'd been scheduled to get her revenge today. she was supposed to be allowed to pour acid into the eyes of her attacker, just like he did to her. but the punishment was put off and no new date has been announced. ali arouzi, nbc news bureau chief in tehran , has the latest for us. good morning to you, ali . do we know any more reason for this postponement?

    >> reporter: good morning, alex. no. unfortunately, we don't know any reasons for the postponement. the judiciary is shrouded in secrecy. the two u.s. hikers who were meant to have their trial on wednesday was postponed. this lady's revenge has been postponed and no reason had been given. outside the courtroom she said she'd spoke on the bbc paris service, which is outlawed in iran , and that was a possible reason. but but no concrete reasons. we were told by members of the court that this justice may be meted out as early as tomorrow. all eyes are on this young lady and the kwourt for the next day or two.

    >> we are looking at a split screen, this woman testifying. we can't see as clearly as other shots, but her face has been disfigured. she was blinded by this attack. we're looking at the man who did it to her. can you tell the viewers what happened initially back in 2004 ?

    >> reporter: this man had been after the woman to marry her, be her lover. she had refuted these proposals. he obviously felt he'd been spurned so badly, he crept up on her one day when she was walking home from college and poured a bucket of acid all over her face. she felt her face was on fire. the acid was dripping into her mouth. the details were quite horrific. and then what ensued after that is she's gone to spain and germany for medical treatment , she's had a series of operations that have been unable to restore her vision. she briefly got her vision back in one of her eyes. but because of an infection, she was blinded again. she's feeling pretty, pretty bad, to say the least. and to talk about, as you were saying, there was a lot of controversy in the newsroom and this was a big topic of conversation, it's a big topic of conversation here in iran . you talk to educators, young women here who go to university, and you talk about it. firstly, they're horrified at the thought of revenge. then they see pictures of this woman and how badly disfigured she is, and most of the young girls say, you know what, i would blind the guy too. a lot of controversy in iran .

    >> it's like there's a no-win situation here. it's an extraordinary story. and ali , we're going to have tow i don't mean back next hour and give us a few more details. thank you from tehran .


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