A Saudi Arabian man named Ali Al-Khawahir was 14 when he stabbed and paralyzed his best friend 10 years ago. Al-Khawahir has been in prison ever since. He has recently been sentenced to be paralyzed if he cannot come up with one million Saudi Riyals ($266,000) in compensation to be paid to the victim.
Humans Rights group Amnesty International has condemned the Saudi court ruling as “outrageous.” In a statement issued Tuesday, the rights group called the punishment “torture,” adding that it “should on no account be carried out.”
The rights group calls this an example of a “qisas,” or retribution, case, adding that other sentences passed have included eye-gouging, tooth extraction, and death in cases of murder. The thought of such a punishment is utterly shocking, even in a context where flogging is frequently imposed as a punishment for some offenses, as happens in Saudi Arabia.
In cases such as this one, the victim calls the shots when it comes to punishing their attacker. The victim can demand the punishment be carried out, request financial compensation, or grant a conditional or unconditional pardon.
“If implemented, the paralysis sentence would contravene the U.N. Convention against Torture to which Saudi Arabia is a state party and the Principles of Medical Ethics adopted by the UN General Assembly,” Amnesty International said.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time a “paralysis as punishment” sentence has made headlines in Saudi Arabia. In 2010, local media reported the case of a 22-year-old man who was paralyzed in a fight. The victim in this case had subsequently requested paralysis as punishment for the man he had fought with. After the initial reports, the Saudi Ministry of Justice denied that paralysis had ever been considered as punishment in that particular case.
Is this taking the concept of “an eye for an eye” too far? Or do you think that Saudi Arabia has the right idea, and this kind of punishment should be permissible? How do you feel about giving the victim the power to choose the punishment for the perpetrator? What punishment would you choose if you were the one paralyzed?
Picture Source: Amnesty International
Article Source: CNN.com