A Saudi court has ruled that a man who paralyzed his best friend should now himself be crippled in an 'eye-for-an-eye' punishment, the Saudi Gazette reported this week.
Ali Al-Khawahir has been in prison since stabbing his friend in the backbone 10 years ago, when he was only 14 years old.
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According to the Saudi Gazette, a court has ruled that the accused should now be "fully paralyzed" unless he pays the compensation demanded by the victim.
Originally the victim asked for two million Saudi riyals ($448,500), but this sum has since been reduced to one million Saudi Riyals ($225,500), according to Mail Online.
It is not clear how the punishment would be carried out. However it has been speculated that the victim's spinal cord would be severed.
Al-Khawahir's 60-year-old mother, who does not have sufficient funds to pay the compensation, has begged people to contribute to the fund.
"Ten years have passed with hundreds of sleepless nights. My hair has become grey at a young age because of my son's problem. I have been frightened to death whenever I think about my son's fate and that he will have to be paralyzed," she said according to the report in Saudi Gazette.
British newspaper Daily Mail said ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia enforces strict Islamic law and occasionally doles out punishments based on the ancient legal code of an eye for an eye.
In 2010, Abdul-Aziz al-Mutairi, 22, was left paralyzed and subsequently lost a foot after a fight more than two years ago.
He asked a judge in north-western Tabuk province to impose an equivalent punishment on his attacker, his brother Khaled al-Mutairi told The Associated Press.
Such 'eye for an eye' punishments are rarely carried out in Saudi Arabia, and Saudi reformists are infuriated when such sentences are passed.
The Daily Mail said seven years ago a Saudi court pardoned an Indian man, Abdul Lateef Noushad, whose eye was to be gouged out. He had blinded another man in a fight over money. The victim eventually pardoned the Indian after the case threatened to cause a diplomatic row. The reprieve came a day before Saudi's King Abdullah arrived in India on a state visit.
But 13 years ago, an Egyptian worker had an eye surgically removed in a Saudi hospital as punishment for disfiguring a compatriot in an acid attack six years earlier.
That was said to be the first time in 40 years that a Saudi court had applied literally the principle of 'an eye for an eye,' local media said at the time.
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