Ali Al-Khawahir, Saudi Man, Sentenced To Be Paralyzed In 'Eye For An Eye' Justice

04/04/2013 09:03 am ET

A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to be medically paralyzed unless he can raise 1 million Saudi Riyal (almost $267,000) to pay a man he stabbed in the back.

When he was 14, Ali al-Khawahir stabbed his friend in the back, paralyzing the victim. The assault earned al-Khawahir a spot in jail -- a spot he's occupied for the last 10 years, the Saudi Gazette reports. Now 24, al-Khawahir either has to pay the victim for forgiveness or have his spinal cord cut, as eye-for-an-eye justice.

Al-Khawahir had originally been expected to pay 2 million Riyal (more than $500,000), but the victim halved the amount after it became clear the sum was too high.

In a translation provided by Reuters, al-Khawahir's mother told the Arabic language al-Hayat daily that she agreed the victim deserved compensation, "but we don't have even a tenth of this sum."

The punishment follows the Islamic principle of "qisas." In a statement issued Tuesday, Amnesty International likened al-Khawahir's paralysis punishment to torture.

"That such a punishment might be implemented is utterly shocking, even in a context where flogging is frequently imposed as a punishment for some offences, as happens in Saudi Arabia," Ann Harrison, the group's Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said.

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