Almost four years have passed since the day of the attacks. On that day, in an instant, three women felt as if their faces and eyes were on fire. Since then, they struggle every day. Their daily lives are now centered around treatment and medication. Everything in their lives has changed. And yet there has been no change in Iran’s justice system. On July 18, it was announced that the court has closed the case.

In 2014, three young women were victims of acid attacks in Isfahan, and were left with life-changing injuries — their faces were disfigured  and their eyesight damaged. The attacks shook Iran, and people demanded that those responsible be found and punished to the limit of the law. Instead, authorities clashed with protesters calling for justice and arrested journalists reporting on the attacks. And now, after four years, no one has been charged with the crime and the motives for the attack remain unknown.

On July 18, the lawyer for the victims, Hossein Abbas Alizadeh, announced that his clients had received their diya, or “blood money,” they were entitled to from the public funds, and that the case was now closed. “My clients had asked for diya and the court ruled that since nobody has been accused of the crime they must be paid from the public funds,” he told Tasnim news agency [Persian link]. “The diya was paid after taking into account the medical examiner’s report on injuries suffered by my clients, the court’s ruling and the efforts by the prosecutor.”

Soheyla Joarkesh is one the victims of the Isfahan acid attacks. She was 27 at the time of the attack and suffered the worst injuries among the victims. She lost one eye completely. After undergoing multiple surgeries in Iran, Spain and the US, she has regained partial eyesight in the other eye. “We have received only a small part of the diya,” Soheyla’s father told IranWire. After the attack, he said, “several parts of my daughter’s body were burned and damaged. The Isfahan Medical Examiner documented [the injuries] and communicated them to the prosecutor and the responsible authorities. The case was completed and was sent to Tehran but, unfortunately, the responsible officials disputed the opinion of the medical examiners about the percentage of burns and injuries. We objected to their objection and the case is yet to be decided.”

Zero Clues

The Joarkesh family has talked to the media about the tragedy and their daughter’s condition more than the families of the other victims have. The family has repeatedly asked the judiciary to do more to try to find and identify those responsible, but nothing has come out of it. “Our follow-ups have produced no results and no clues about the culprits have been discovered,” Soheyla’s father said. “Sometimes we go to the judiciary, but we receive no answers. The people that claim they can do anything and everything have yet to catch the perpetrator or perpetrators of the acid attacks in Isfahan. They have zero clues about them.”

What pains them more than anything else is, of course, Soheyla’s health. “For four years we have been struggling with this,” her father said. “We have continued her treatment in Isfahan, in Tehran, in Spain and in America. Just recently she has been able to see partially with the help of a lens.” He said that she still needs help —  at any given time, at least two people care for her.

Soheyla’s family has done everything it can.  “The cost of traveling back and forth to the US and Europe is astronomical,” her father said. “We sold our house and our properties to pay for the expenses. We were doing well — otherwise we could not have done these things — but the expenses are really high.”

From America to Isfahan — On Ice

Her father said that part of the expensehasve been paid by the Ministry of Health on orders from the health minister himself. But Soheyla’s ongoing treatment and the expenses are not their only concerns. “I give you just one example,” he told IranWire. “With the help of friends we found the eyedrops our child needs in the US. Our friends went to the hospital in America and got the drops. Now we have to find somebody to bring them to Iran. After that somebody has to go to Imam Khomeini airport to pick up the drops. Then they have to be brought from Tehran to Isfahan. All throughout this journey the drops must be kept on ice. For 20 days now we have been looking for somebody to bring Soheyla’s drops from America.”

After a pause he said: “This is only part of the trouble we must go through to treat Soheyla. Now the officials dispute the findings of the medical examiner, [who said the authorities had to] pay damages. Well, it is not important. But tell people to pray for my daughter’s health.”

 

More on acid attacks on women in Isfahan and elsewhere in Iran:

Protester Starves in Jail While Criminals go Free, January 6, 2017

Police Clash with Acid Attack Protesters, July 21, 2015

Acid Attacks in Western Azerbaijan, July 15, 2015

Acid Attack Death Exposes Iran’s Dangerous Laws, May 13, 2015

Grieving Father Speaks about Acid Attacks, April 23, 2015

Acid Attack Victim Dies, April 16, 2015

“Well, you know, we haven't found the acid throwers. That's all I can say.”, December 12, 2014

What is Behind the Acid Attacks?, November 10, 2014

Isfahan Gripped by Fear as Authorities Fail to Arrest Acid Attackers, November 3, 2014

Authorities Release Isfahan Journalists, October 29, 2014

Journalists Detained for Reporting Acid Attack Protest, October 28, 2014

Iran’s Top Security Body Orders Arrest of Photographer, October 27, 2014

Panic in Isfahan, as Police Fail to Arrest Acid Attack Assailants, October 22, 2014

Demonstration in Isfahan Against Acid Attacks, October 22, 2014

Contradiction and Conspiracy Around Acid Attacks, October 21, 2014

Acid Attack Horror Grows in Iran, October 20, 2014

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