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Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor, who was alleged to have shot and killed two men in the city of Lahore, eastern Pakistan has been acquitted by a court after the families of the slain received “blood money.”
The acquittal came when relatives of the dead men pardoned him in court. They confirmed to the judge overseeing the case that they had received compensation – known as “blood money”.
Under Pakistani law, relatives of a murder victim can pardon the killer.
Reports say about 18 family members of the two dead men were in court on Wednesday and confirmed that they wanted Mr Davis to be freed and pardoned because they had received “blood money”.
Qisas (Arabic: قصاص) is an Islamic term meaning “retaliation,” and follows the principle of an eye for an eye, or lex talionis, first set forth by Hammurabi, and subsequently included in the Old Testament and later legal codes. In the case of murder, it means the right of the heirs of a murder victim to demand execution of the murderer.
O you who believe, equivalence is the law decreed for you when dealing with murder – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the female for the female. If one is pardoned by the victim’s kin, an appreciative response is in order, and an equitable compensation shall be paid. This is an alleviation from your Lord and mercy. Anyone who transgresses beyond this incurs a painful retribution.
The Quran also allows aggrieved parties to forfeit the right of qisas as an act of charity or an act of atonement for sins.
Qisas is enforced today in countries which follow Sharia, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan.
The issue of qisas gained attention in the Western media in 2009 when Ameneh Bahrami, an Iranian woman blinded in an acid attack, demanded that her attacker be blinded as well.
Differences exist over whether equal retaliation can be applied to Muslims who have murdered unbelievers. In the hadith of Bukhari, Ash-Sha’bi narrates that Abu Juhaifa said that “no Muslim should be killed in Qisas (equality in punishment) for the killing of (a disbeliever)”. Three of the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence thus expressly prohibit capital punishment for Muslims who have murdered unbelievers; only allowing the payment of blood money. For the Maliki and Hanbali schools of jurisprudence, the value of a non-Muslim’s life is worth one-half the value of a Muslim’s life; in the Shafi’i school, the lives of Jews and Christians are worth one-third of those of Muslims, and the lives of Zoroastrians are worth one-fifteenth. The Hanafi school allows capital punishment for Muslims who have murdered unbelievers, citing a hadith wherein Muhammad ordered the execution of a Muslim who killed a dhimmi.Click here for reuse options!