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David Mittleman
David Mittleman
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Saudi Arabian Judge Considers Paralyzing Man As Punishment for His Crime

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After reading about a Saudi Arabian judge who asked doctors if they could damage a man’s spinal cord as punishment for his crime, I realized how lucky I am to live in the United States. The man who faces possible paralysis attacked 22-year-old Abdul-Aziz al-Mutairi with a cleaver two years ago, leaving Abdul-Aziz paralyzed. Abdul-Aziz asked the Saudi judge to impose a similar punishment on his attacker–a horrific prospect that reminded me why I tell my injured clients the following three things:

  1. I can’t make you better
  2. I can’t undue what has been done
  3. I can’t do to them what they did to you
  4. I can only help get you reasonable and adequate compensation–money damages.

I understand the concept of an eye for an eye, but in a civil society the idea of paralysis as a punishment stuns and horrifies me. What’s worse is that the Saudi judge has already contacted several hospitals to carry out the punishment. Thus far, one hospital has responded to his request, answering that it is possible to perform a surgery to damage the man’s spinal cord. However, another hospital responded that it could not perform such a surgery.

Under strict Islamic law, Saudia Arabia enforces eye-for-an-eye policy and on occasion metes out punishments based on this principle. According to recent reports Amnesty International has stepped forward to plead the judge not to carry through with his judgment.